Evidence from a butt hospital with covid-19 1:15 patients
(CNN) –– More than 160 pairs of white nursing shoes were placed in the garden in front of the United States Capitol on Tuesday, in memory of the nurses who have died during the coronavirus crisis.
The shoes were put there by members of the National Nurses United union, the largest registered nurse in the U.S. During the vigil, healthcare workers implored the Senate to pass the so-called HEROES Act, a $ 3 trillion bill proposed by Democrats would, among many other measures, increase the production of personal protective equipment that hospitals need to treat patients with coronavirus.RELATED
National Nurses United noted that the bill, which would also provide direct payments to Americans and funds for state and local governments, could save the lives of patients and nurses.
As of Tuesday, 164 nurses had died of covid-19, according to the union. Some of them, as Stephanie Sims said in her speech on the Capitol lawn, died in the same hospitals where they worked.
The nurses union held a similar protest in May outside the White House, which was once surrounded by 88 pairs of shoes. Back then, the country accumulated more than 70,000 deaths, Sims said.
More than two months later, the number of deaths in the United States has doubled to more than 142,000. Sims said the staggering death rate in the United States demonstrates a “complete and utter failure of the presidential leadership and of Congress.”
The House of Representatives passed the Democrats-backed HEROES Act on May 15, a week after the nurses’ rally. However, it stalled in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican lawmakers have been drafting their own stimulus bill without input from Democrats, according to Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer.
Since the start of the pandemic, healthcare workers in the United States have faced shortages of personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, N95 masks, respirators, and suits, leading staff to reuse and re-dress contaminated materials. National Nurses United says inadequate personal protective equipment has contributed to the deaths of nurses.
The Trump administration has been criticized for not widely invoking the Defense Production Law, which gives the administration more control during emergencies to direct industrial production. It has been invoked only in a few cases, such as to test supplies.
As a result of the shortage, several states have had to rely on the private market, which is also facing shortages and is raising prices due to international demand.
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.