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‘How many more nurses have to die?’: Coalition of nursing unions demand life-saving supplies and equipment in battle with coronavirus

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“We now bear the full brunt of a healthcare system rendered dysfunctional after years of relentless funding cuts for public health, while generating obscene profits for corporate interests.”

A coalition of nurses’ unions on Monday demanded their members be protected in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak threatening to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system, describing a dysfunctional approach to the pandemic that is putting frontline healthcare workers’ lives in danger.

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“What nurses see is every hospital operating in haphazard fashion,” said Rose Roach, executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, in a statement. “No hospital is using the same protocols. No hospital is maintaining the same procedures. They operate differently, day to day, and even shift to shift.”

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, global pandemic has already hit the U.S. healthcare system with a fury—exposing insufficient levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers—and the peak of hospitalizations around the nation is not expected for another week or more.

“Instead of answering the demands nurses have been making for months to their employers and elected officials to ensure safe workplaces to protect themselves, their patients, and the public, hospitals have instead sent nurses to the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic with bandanas, scarves, and trash bags as protection,” said Bonnie Castillo, executive director of National Nurses United (NNU).

NNU and the Minnesota Nurses Association are joined in the demand by the D.C. Nurses Association, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP).

“The health of our communities and the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors depends on how we protect frontline nurses and healthcare workers right now,” said MNA president Donna Kelly-Williams.

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As Common Dreams has reported, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers have for over a month raised the alarm over the lack of access to PPE for staff and have demanded a change in how they are treated in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as they confront the coronavirus. The blame for the lack of access, said NYSNA president Judy Sheridan-González, rests squarely on a system that operates for profit, not human life and health.

“We now bear the full brunt of a healthcare system rendered dysfunctional after years of relentless funding cuts for public health, while generating obscene profits for corporate interests,” said Sheridan-González. “Life-protecting, life-saving equipment should have been assembled, trained practitioners should have been mobilized en masse, infrastructure should have been up and running, arming us with the tools to confront the most devastating crisis of our lifetime.”

The coalition stressed that time is slipping away to change the tide but that there was still an opportunity for the federal government to step in and ensure standard practices are followed.

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“Inaction has put us and our families at risk” said PASNAP president Maureen May. “Congress and the White House must act now and use the Defense Production Act to get personal protective equipment into our hospitals without further delay.”


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WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.

Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.

"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."

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Doctor fighting fraud charge cites Donald Trump in his defense of doling out COVID-19 drug

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As President Donald Trump promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, one California doctor took his recommendations to the bank.

According to the San Diego Tribune, Dr. Jennings Staley is being charged in what appears to be the first case involving the drug. The FBI is charing Staley with mail fraud as part of an effort hailing hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure" and the "magic bullet" to an undercover agent posing as a patient, court documents say.

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‘Significant’ increase in Florida pneumonia deaths are likely COVID-19 related: CDC officials

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According to a report from the Daily Beast, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe that a "statistically significant" increase in pneumonia-related deaths in Florida may be related to the COVID-19 virus.

With Florida being one of the first states to re-open after most of the country went into an almost complete shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports of deaths in sthe state have been under more scrutiny than usual as health experts attempt to get their arms around the health crisis.

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