Nurses urge Trump to expand production of protective equipment

National Nurses United on Thursday said President Trump must invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expand production of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The union, which represents over 155,000 registered nurses, in a letter called on the president to order increased production of facial shields, respirators, coveralls, gloves, gowns, ventilators and testing equipment and supplies.

“Across the nation, our health care workforce does not have the personal protective equipment it needs to safely care for patients without risking exposure to the virus,” NNU stated in the letter.

The union also called on Trump to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to collect information on existing supplies and impose restrictions on the hoarding of such supplies, while also ensuring the continued release and distribution of PPE and testing equipment in the national stockpile.

A Wednesday report from The Washington Post indicated the national stockpile of PPE is nearly empty, with a Department of Homeland Security official telling the newspaper, “The stockpile was designed to respond to a handful of cities. It was never built or designed to fight a 50-state pandemic.”