Nurses Welcome Biden-Harris Covid-19 Plan ‘It Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives’
National Nurses United today enthusiastically praised the Biden-Harris plan to beat Covid-19. This proposed plan is a huge step forward in confronting this deadly pandemic, which is based on science and public health that if implemented immediately could save countless lives, and has been proven effective in other countries.
“This is the plan the American people have been waiting for,” said NNU President Zenei Cortez, RN, urging the Trump administration to work with the incoming Biden-Harris administration to implement it immediately. “If this program had been in place since March, we could have saved tens of thousands of lives and alleviated massive suffering in our nation.
“Not only does the plan address the current crisis, it would begin to rebuild the infrastructure needed to be able to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, that are likely to happen more often due to the climate crisis, globalization, and rapid urbanization in the future,” Cortez said.
NNU has advocated and urged policy leaders to carry out key elements for this proposal since February. The union has warned of the consequences of failure to act, as seen in the current explosion of record numbers of infections, hospitalizations, overwhelmed health care facilities, and deaths.
Major components of the plan welcomed by NNU include:
- Full use of the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of masks, face shields, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) not just to meet demand but to replenish stockpiles and create a supply chain in the U.S.
“President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris have repeatedly emphasized in particular the priority of assuring nurses and other healthcare workers have the life-saving PPE we need to do our jobs safely and guarantee we will have the frontline caregivers needed to protect our patients and our communities,” Cortez said.
“The failure of policy makers and employers to guarantee provision of the optimal PPE, such as the N95s, elastomerics, and PAPRs that nurses, health care workers need, is why hospitals have too often become super spreader hot spots and more than 2,000 health care workers, including over 220 nurses, have died from Covid-19,” Cortez said.
- Prioritizing and relying upon science, when creating guidance, when reviewing and approving vaccines and therapeutics, with transparent access to local case data.
- A task force on racial and ethnic disparities, that is essential to confront the disproportionate number of deaths that have ravaged Black, Latino, Filipino, and Indigenous communities in particular, including among nurses, other health care workers and essential employees.
- Restoring the U.S. relationship to the World Health Organization, which is an important step towards rebuilding ensuring a coordinated international response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and as a framework for ensuring a unified approach to future outbreaks.
- Urging states to make wearing masks mandatory, as the Governor of Utah declared yesterday, a critical facet of an overall public health plan.
- Nationwide contact tracing that is essential to confronting and limiting the spread of the virus to identify people who have been exposed and set the state for isolation to protect others from becoming infected.
- Creation of a Public Health Job Corps, as the plan proposes, utilizing community resources “to perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing and protecting at-risk population.”
- Investing in a massive vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee “it gets to every American, cost-free.”
- Working with Congress to pass an emergency package to ensure schools have the additional resources they need to adapt effectively to Covid-19.
- Providing a “restart package” that helps small businesses cover the costs of operating safely, including things like plexiglass and PPE.