100,000 signatures reached
To: President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence
Healthcare Workers Need Protective Equipment Now
This is scary time. As many of us practice social distancing, remain at home and watch our schools, arenas and malls close down – we see our frontline workers risking their health for us. As they run out of protective equipment healthcare workers face an elevated risk of getting sick, spreading the virus, and possibly dying.
Let’s be clear, the federal government’s inadequate preparation for, and response to this outbreak, will lead to deaths-and many healthcare workers will be included in this number. We should have been producing and stockpiling protective equipment well in advance of this crisis. Your administration should have taken the potential risks of this outbreak much more seriously when it appeared on the horizon three months ago.
As the head of the federal government’s Coronavirus Task Force, we implore you to take the following critical actions immediately:
• The administration must make the production of masks a top priority.
• The federal government has a stockpile of PPE’s. They’ve released about 1/4th of the stockpile, but more must be released immediately so that healthcare workers can do their job effectively and we can all be safe.
• All healthcare workers should have immediate, free access to being tested to ensure that they are healthy and also not endangering non-infected patients. And
• The federal government needs to stop watering down guidelines that keep us safe. The minimum standard of protection for a healthcare worker should be N95 masks.
Healthcare workers have shown their commitment to patients and the public. We need the same level of commitment from the Trump Administration and we need it now. We urge you to honor the bravery of healthcare workers by implementing the recommendations listed above. The nation’s health and our lives literally depend on it.
We appreciate your swift and serious consideration of this request.
Why is this important?
I’m a nurse in Alaska. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and caring for our patients, but we're running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) in states across the nation. We don’t have the right kind of N95 respirator masks to keep us and you safe. We don’t have enough ventilators to keep the very sickest patients alive. We don’t have the ear or the attention of the president, who make promises and then walks away does nothing.
This is scary. Our job is to treat and care for people, and we will not leave our patients behind. If we run out of equipment, healthcare providers and the patients we care for will die.
Let's be clear: If we get sick and if people die, it’s because policies that go all the way to the top have failed us. We should have been producing the needed respirators, masks and ventilators long before this. The administration should have taken the outbreak seriously when it started three months ago. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps lowering the guidelines for healthcare workers to be safe; the CDC just said that we can use bandanas as masks. The CDC is putting my life and the lives of other nurses at risk by telling us to use scarves rather than producing enough masks that will keep us safe. And it’s not just respirators, masks and ventilators we’re running low on. Hospitals are reporting shortages of gowns, gloves and other PPE that we need to keep ourselves safe as we care for the sick.
Trump has said he’ll use the Defense Production Act to make masks and tests, after weeks of us pressuring him, but he has not said he’ll use it to ensure there are enough ventilators to keep patients from dying. And he’s still not releasing the stockpile of PPE that he has, which could fill the gap until enough n95 masks are made.
Here's what we need right now:
• The administration must make the production of N95 respirators and other PPE a top priority.
• The President must use the Defense Production Act to make ventilators for patients.
• The federal government has a stockpile of personal protective equipment, but has released less than 10 percent of the stockpile: We’re still running low. The federal government must release more of it immediately to keep us safe.
• All healthcare workers should have immediate, free access to being tested to ensure that we are safe and not endangering non-infected patients.
• The federal government needs to stop watering down guidelines that keep us safe. The minimum standard should be N95 respirators. Telling us to use bandanas puts our lives at risk.
Will you please help us by telling the administration that we need this now.