The Phoenix Flyer

Nurses’ union alleges lack of transparency on COVID-19 deaths by national, state governments

By: - September 29, 2020 1:15 pm

Color-enhanced image of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (in blue), which causes the dangerous respiratory disease COVID-19. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Lab

Federal health officials and health care employers have refused to provide accurate and timely data on COVID-19 infection and deaths rates, endangering the lives of health-care workers and patients, according to a report released on Monday by a nurses’ union.

In the report, titled “Sins of Omission,” the National Nurses United alleges that the federal and state governments are failing “to track and publicly report transparent, accurate, and timely data on the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The union, representing registered nurses nationwide, argued that these failures have led to more than 1,700 deaths among health-care workers who depend on the data to effectively control COVID-19 and save lives.

Florida has seen 100 health-care worker deaths due to COVID-19 through Sept. 16, according to the report.

“This data is also necessary to learn valuable lessons in mitigating the spread of future pandemics. But instead of tracking and reporting such data, federal and state governments have neglected, hidden, and manipulated COVID-19 data,” the union said in a written statement.

According to the union, nurses use the data to “inform their interventions and patient care” and it is “necessary to understand how and where the virus is spreading.”

The information also is used to determine who is most at risk of an infection and “whether interventions are effective,” the union added.

Union leaders said in a press release that they’ve been tracking the deaths of registered nurses and health-care workers nationally since the beginning of the health crisis because “no one was reporting this information.”

Union representatives will hold a Facebook live event on Wednesday to discuss the report in depth.

Deborah Burger, a registered nurse who is president of the union, said in a written statement:

“The United States needs transparent, accurate, and timely publicly reported data on COVID-19 immediately. Nurses call on the Trump administration to restore hospital COVID-19 data reporting to the CDC immediately. The CDC must then strengthen, improve, and expand its data tracking.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.