US nurses protest working conditions amid Covid-19 surge

Los Angeles, Jan 13 (EFE).- Nurses gathered outside Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles on Thursday as part of a national day of action to protest working conditions for health care workers as the United States endures a surge in Covid-19 cases spurred by the Omicron variant.

The mobilization by National Nurses United (NNU), a union representing more than 175,000 nurses, was to include events from coast-to-coast culminating in a candlelight vigil in Washington the 481 nurses who lost their lives to Covid-19.

NNU is demanding that hospitals boost staffing levels and that President Joe Biden reverse recent moves by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The CDC cut in half the recommended isolation time for people infected with Covid-19, from 10 days to five, while OSHA said it planned to withdraw pandemic protections for health care workers.

“As we enter year three of the deadliest pandemic in our lifetimes, nurses are enraged to see that, for our government and our employers, it’s all about what’s good for business, not what’s good for public health,” NNU President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez said.

“Our employers claim there is a ‘nursing shortage,’ and that’s why they must flout optimal isolation times, but we know there are plenty of registered nurses in this country. There is only a shortage of nurses willing to work in the unsafe conditions created by hospital employers and this government’s refusal to impose lifesaving standards,” she said.

The US leads the world in coronavirus deaths, 844,000, and cases, 63.6 million.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services said, US hospitals were treating upwards of 145,900 people for Covid-19, exceeding the previous high of 142,246 from a year ago.

New cases are averaging more than 754,200 a day, according to Johns Hopkins University data, nearly three times the peak of January 2021. EFE /dr

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