Nurses display 164 pairs of white shoes at the Capitol to symbolize their colleagues killed by COVID-19
A total of 164 white shoes outside the US Capitol on July 21, 2020 honor the nurses who have lost their lives from COVID-19 (AFP Photo/Olivier DOULIERY)

A nurses' union placed 164 sets of white shoes outside the US Capitol on Tuesday in a tribute to their colleagues killed by coronavirus, calling on the Senate to pass a huge aid package meant to help fight the pandemic.

Two months ago "my colleagues and I stood in front of the White House surrounded by 88 pairs of shoes, each representing a nurse who had died from COVID," said Stephanie Simms, a Washington-based registered nurse.

"Today we have 164 pairs of shoes. They clearly show how this administration and this Congress has failed nurses who continue to die," said Simms, from the over 150,000-strong National Nurses United (NNU), which organized the display at the Capitol.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion Heroes Act in mid-May.

However, the Republican-controlled Senate has blocked the measure, promising a new proposal.

The House bill would provide financial aid to households struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, help rescue the US economy and finance production of protective equipment for frontline workers.

The United States has recorded more than 141,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic amid some 3.86 million cases.