The National Nurses United on Thursday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirusEsper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients ‘if push comes to shove’Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czarMORE must invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expand production of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The union, which represents over 155,000 registered nurses, in a letter called on the president to order increased production of facial shields, respirators, coveralls, gloves, gowns, ventilators and testing equipment and supplies.
Across the nation, our health care workforce does not have the personal protective equipment it needs to safely care for patients without risking exposure to the virus, NNU stated in the letter.
As a result, health care workers are at risk of illness and death, which puts our entire health care system at risk of collapse. Further, when health care workers are exposed to the virus, they risk transmitting the virus to their families, patients, and communities, it continued. If our country fails to immediately protect our health care workers, we will fail to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president has taken the first steps to exercise the authorities given to him by the Defense Production Act, NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo added. We applaud him for using the statute to order ventilator production by General Motors, and we urge him to take similar actions to order manufacturers to immediately increase production of respirators, including N95s, and other personal protective equipment.
The union also called on Trump to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to collect information on existing replies and impose restrictions on hoarding of such supplies, while also ensuring the continued release and distribution of PPE and testing equipment in the national stockpile.
A Wednesday report from The Washington Post indicated the national stockpile of PPE is nearly empty, with a Department of Homeland Security official telling the newspaper The stockpile was designed to respond to a handful of cities. It was never built or designed to fight a 50-state pandemic.