National Nurses United Union asks CDC to recommend mask-wearing for everyone again.

(July, 15, 2021)

The National Nurses United (NNU) is the largest organization of registered nurses in the United States. The NNU, with close to 185,000 members across the country, is the most far-reaching union and professional association of registered nurses in the U.S. Founded in 2009 through the merging of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, the United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the NNU focuses on amplifying the voice of direct care RNs and patients in national policy.

Yesterday, the National Nurses United union asks CDC to recommend mask-wearing for everyone again given the COVID-19 cases on the rise in North Texas and across the country, whether or not you are  vaccinated or not.

In a six-page letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the organization asked the CDC to change its current guidance on mask-wearing and infection control related to COVID-19. Currently, the CDC’s guidance, says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask. However, the nurses union asked the CDC to not only reinstate the recommendation for everyone to wear masks, whether vaccinated or not, but to also update health care infection control to recognize COVID is spread by aerosol transmission, and to track infections in health care workers and the fully vaccinated.

Jean Ross, RN and president of National Nurses United states that she understands the desire to have a ‘nice summer,’ but we are shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Ross. “We see the handwriting on the wall here.”

Some of that handwriting of concern can be found in North Texas as well. The North Texas hospital region, as of Thursday, has 700 COVID patients hospitalized and COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas could reach summer 2020 levels, according to new data. Additionally, UT Southwestern Medical Center said that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Dallas County have increased by 40% over the past two weeks and predict that Dallas County alone could have 200 hospitalized COVID patients by August. In another Texas county, Tarrant County, the hospitalizations are up 65% over the past two weeks and yet , even with proponents of mask-wearing, like Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, say that mask-wearing rules locally are not expected to change. In fact Jenkins stated, “it is a very good idea to wear a mask around other people with the Delta variant spreading through our community,” but the county will still follow current CDC guidelines.

But for a nurse on the frontlines like Jean Ross, mask-wearing is still part of her everyday routine, even though she is fully vaccinated. Let’s begin sorting out where HOCC should stand on our return to in-person meetings – we certainly don’t want another Fall or Winter like 2020 again!