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Healthcare workers on their way to work walk past demonstrators taking part in a national day of action in Miami on Wednesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nurses took more than 200 active demonstrations inside and outside U.S. hospital facilities in at least 16 states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday to demand full personal protective equipment and federal government action.

Driving the news: National Nurses United (NNU) members are demanding that the Senate pass the HEROES Act, House Democrats' $3 trillion pandemic recovery package, which they said would protect health care workers by ensuring domestic production of PPE through the Defense Production Act.

  • They argue it would mandate that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration establish an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases and provide "desperately needed economic help in the form of cash payments, extended unemployment benefits, and daycare subsidies through the end of 2020 to families on the brink," per an NNU statement.
  • A union spokesperson told Axios that while the nurses did not hold an official strike, they did walk out during their shifts as part of the protests.

Why it matters, via Axios' Bob Herman: Health care workers need this equipment to protect themselves and to avoid spreading infection. Supplies are already stretched thin, and will likely get thinner as the coronavirus and flu season converge in the fall.

What they're saying: Intensive care unit registered nurse Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association whose members took part in the protests, said in a statement that nurses were at risk during the pandemic.

  • "We still reuse PPE that was meant to be discarded. We still care for COVID-19 patients and non-COVID patients at the same time," Turner said.
  • "And we still struggle to protect ourselves so we can protect our patients."

Go deeper: Nurses place shoes at Capitol to honor colleagues killed by coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Nov 14, 2020 - Health

COVID hits first cruise ship to return to Caribbean since pandemic stalled industry

The Seadream 1 ship docks in Bodo in Norway in August 2020. Photo: Sondre Skjelvik/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

The first cruiseliner to return to the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic shut the industry down was forced to return to its home port of Barbados after passengers tested positive for COVID-19, the ship's owner, SeaDream Yacht Club, said Thursday.

Why it matters: Cruise ships were the sites of some of the most severe coronavirus outbreaks early in the pandemic, before the industry suspended operations in March.

Nov 13, 2020 - Health

New York's daily COVID-19 case count tops 5,000 for first time since April

People wait in line for COVID-19 testing in Brooklyn. Photo: Xinhua/Michael Nagle via Getty Images

New York state’s daily coronavirus case count has surpassed 5,000 for the first time since April.

By the numbers: Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted on Friday that of the roughly 203,000 COVID-19 tests taken, 5,401 produced positive results. "Total hospitalizations are at 1,737," and the state saw 24 coronavirus-related deaths, per Cuomo.