Trump Team Killed Rule Designed To Protect Health Workers From Pandemic Like COVID-19

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Trump team killed rule to proect health workers

When President Trump took office in 2017, his team stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the healthcare industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic like COVID-19. That decision is documented in federal records reviewed by NPR.

"If that rule had gone into effect, then every hospital, every nursing home would essentially have to have a plan where they made sure they had enough respirators and they were prepared for this sort of pandemic," said David Michaels, who at the time served as head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

There are still no specific federal regulations protecting healthcare workers from deadly airborne pathogens like influenza, tuberculosis or the coronavirus. This fact hit home during the last respiratory pandemic, the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Thousands of Americans died and dozens of healthcare workers got sick. At least four nurses died.

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