Statement by NUHW president Sal Rosselli on urgent need for White House to address PPE shortages

Press ReleasesNovember 16, 2020

For immediate release – November 17, 2020

Statement by Sal Rosselli, President of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, on Urgent need for White House to invoke Defense Production Act to address severe PPE shortages. If Trump won’t, Biden must on January 20.

We cannot properly serve our patients unless we are adequately supplied.”

With COVID-19 infections soaring across the country, the urgent need is escalating for the president to invoke the Defense Production Act.

Widespread reports from healthcare workers reveal that supplies of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are still woefully inadequate despite the months that the federal government has had to prepare for a second surge and the expectation that winter will see growing caseloads.

If President Trump won’t take immediate action to place the production of PPE on a wartime footing, President-elect Joe Biden must ramp up manufacturing of critical supplies as one of his first acts on January 20. Only the federal government has the power and reach to adequately boost production of the necessary supplies. A governor cannot order a factory across the country to produce what is needed.

Additionally, the Trump administration has repeatedly stated that anyone who wants a Covid test can get one. Certainly this is true for professional athletes and students attending elite universities, but this has not been the story for large numbers of front-line healthcare workers. These essential employees are not being tested regularly and often are denied a test by their employer even when they fear they have been exposed to the virus.

This is not right. We need to dramatically increase access to testing at all of our healthcare facilities, which requires boosting the production of testing materials.

National Union of Healthcare Workers members and others in health care who are staffing hospitals and clinics are trained to fight illness and care for patients using the proper protective equipment and procedures. The failure of the Trump administration to build a sustainable supply chain has cost the lives of far too many caregivers and patients.

Despite hopes for a vaccine, this pandemic is likely to be with us for much of 2021. We must make up for lost time and do all that we can to protect those on the front lines without further delay.  We cannot properly serve our patients unless we are adequately supplied.

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