294 healthcare workers have died from Covid-19 after fighting it on the frontlines, according to CDC data, which the National Nurses Union says is a consequence of PPE shortages.
62,690 healthcare workers have contracted coronavirus, resulting in 294 casualties, according to new CDC data.
There are likely more healthcare worker casualties, as only 21% of cases reported to the CDC include information that could identify the patient as a healthcare worker.
National Nurses United, the country’s largest nurse union, calculated a healthcare worker death count using publicly available information like obituaries and found 530 fatalities.
These figures come after months of reported PPE shortages at healthcare facilities around the country: “Nurses and other healthcare workers continue to find themselves abandoned at COVID-19’s front lines, without PPE,” said National Nurses United. “Despite nurses’ demands, President Trump has made no effort to mass produce N95 respirators using the Defense Production Act.”
87% of 23,000 nurses surveyed by the NNU reported having to reuse single-use equipment when treating Covid-19 patients and 72% said they had exposed skin or clothing when treating Covid-19 patients.
412: That’s how many first responders died combating the 9/11 attacks. This means that Covid-19 first responder deaths approach that of the most fatal terrorist attack in American history.
“Our members showed up and many of them made the ultimate sacrifice,” Pat Kane, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, told NPR. “And many of them got sick. That was round one. We should be better informed by our experience.”
This comes in conjunction with Wednesday’s grim 100,000 deaths by coronavirus milestone. Meanwhile, the PPE shortage remains far short of the 3.5 billion masks U.S. officials have long presumed that the country would need in a pandemic of this nature. On May 22, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization to give healthcare workers greater access to PPE in response to shortages that includes shoe coverings, surgical helmets and gowns. “There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the emergency use of these gowns and other apparel,” said the FDA in the authorization.