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Health care workers hold Niagara Square rally for PPE

It was a protest borne out of a national crisis, with cars circling Niagara Square honking their horns and a few people on the vast momument, socially distancing. 



The rally centered around the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for local health care workers. PPE is what stands between a healthcare worker and a patient with COVID-19 and includes masks, face visors, gloves, safety gowns and more. Without that gear, the worker can potentially contract the same disease as their patients.


Across the country and the world, an increasing number have crossed that barrier between carrier and patient. There is an extreme shortage of the PPE gear and some overuse of what exists.


The Niagara Square protest was sponsored by the New York State Nurses Association and Communications Workers District One. Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of District One, said there are ways to get the needed gear.


"They're about to shut down a GE factory that employs 750 people in Schenectady. Why is the federal government not saying to the head of GE, 'Can we switch this over, as fast as possible?' There's still a lot of manufacturing left in this country and it needs to be deployed as soon as possible to produce the equipment that our healthcare workers and other front line personnel need," Master said.


Locally, the CWA represents 8,000 health care workers for Catholic Health, Kaleida and Kaleida's Visiting Nursing Association.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.