Nurses place shoes on Capitol lawn for every colleague who died of coronavirus

Nurses place shoes on Capitol lawn for every colleague who died of coronavirus
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Members of a national nurses union laid pairs of shoes representing their colleagues who have died while treating coronavirus patients on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

The demonstration, organized by National Nurses United (NNU), was designed to encourage Congress to invoke the Defense Production Act and mandate that U.S. manufacturing plants switch production to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and masks.

"NNU nurses gathered at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. this morning to honor the lives of registered nurses who have died from COVID-19 while taking care of their patients in this crisis. RNs read the names of the 164 nurses in the United States who have already lost their lives to the virus. Each pair of white shoes represented one nurse gone too soon," the union wrote on Facebook.

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"NNU nurses demand NO MORE NURSE DEATHS! We are calling on the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which will fully invoke the Defense Production Act to mass produce personal protective equipment, and will also create an emergency temporary standard to protect essential workers on the frontlines of this deadly pandemic," the post continued.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE invoked the DPA in the spring to mandate the production of some necessary equipment, including swabs for coronavirus testing kits, but has faced calls to more widely utilize the 1950 legislation to direct manufacturing of PPE. The Pentagon announced more than $130 million in deals under the act last month.

“We urge that the Defense Production Act be fully employed,” American Hospital Association CEO Rick Pollack told reporters in March, while adding: “We have people that are making masks at home and donating them to the hospital.”

The NNU previously held a protest in April at the White House over the issue of insufficient PPE, with one attending nurse telling reporters that many in the industry feel like martyrs.

"We are here because our colleagues are dying. I think that right now people think of us as heroes, but we're feeling like martyrs," she said.