Trump to meet with nursing industry representatives

Trump to meet with nursing industry representatives
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE and White House officials will meet with representatives of the nursing industry on Wednesday amid growing concerns about protecting frontline health workers from the novel coronavirus.

According to an administration official, representatives from about a dozen nursing organizations are expected to attend, along with members of the White House's coronavirus task force.

"Nursing organizations support ongoing efforts to address and prevent the community spread of COVID-19 along with the rapid development and identification of solutions to protect nurses, healthcare teams, and the public," the administration official said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The meeting comes as nurses, doctors and other health care workers all around the country are being told to ration the gear that protects them from the virus, raising questions about the risk posed to those on the front lines of the pandemic. 

Hospitals are quickly using up their stockpiles of masks for health workers, called N95 respirators, and are also worried they won't have enough ventilators for the expected surge of patients in the coming weeks and months as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

State officials are also facing a shortage of masks and ventilators, and have been asking Washington for help getting the supplies. 

The administration has been reluctant to say exactly how many ventilators the country has on hand, although Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the national stockpile is about 13,000.

In the face of such shortages, the administration has loosened regulations to allow for simple surgical masks to be used in temporary circumstances, instead of the N95 respirators. The move has been criticized by National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the country.