More than 200 nurses in the US have died from Covid-19 during the pandemic, a new report says.
The country’s largest nursing union says that a total of 1,718 health care workers in total have died from the virus, including 213 registered nurses.
Of the nurses who died, 58.2 per cent were nurses of colour, including 67 Filipino American nurses and 38 Black nurses, claims National Nurses United.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that of the 3 million nursing positions in the US, just 24.1 per cent are filled by people of colour, according to Business Insider.
The NNU says that of the 1,515 cases of health care workers where details were available, 29.6 per cent were employed at hospitals and 70.4 per cent worked in nursing homes, medical practices, Emergency Services, and other settings.
And they say that registered nurses make up 31.9 per cent of the hospital health care workers who have died.
Union bosses say their statistics were based on research from state and local health records, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, the Centers for Disease Control, obituaries, social media and GoFundMe accounts.
“The rights of registered nurses and other health care workers in the US are being violated,” said the union in their report.
“Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have a “general duty” to provide safe workplaces.”
When the coronavirus hit the US earlier this year, health professionals angrily complained that they needed better protective gear in hospitals, medical offices and care homes.
As the virus spread many nurses complained about an ongoing lack of masks, gloves and PPE, with some even having to use plastic bags instead of medical-grade gowns.
The US has now seen more than 200,00 deaths from coronavirus, with more than 7 million Americans testing positive for the infection.
“For us, it’s been a matter of life and death,” said NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo.
“If we had not been out there and collectively advocating and fighting, tooth and nail, for every single N95 mask and every single protection, we would have lost many more.
“We have seen this system function under a pandemic and it has been an utter failure.”