The Politics of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2020;38(4):222-223. 

In This Article

Political Will

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, pandemic, nurses have garnered attention and generated swift responsiveness and engagement in political and legislative action calling upon hospital systems, local and state officials, including governors, to pressure the President to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the domestic production of medical supplies and equipment that hospitals, health systems, and all front-line providers so desperately need. These supplies are urgently needed to care for our patients and communities, where vital supplies of N95 respirators, isolation gowns, surgical masks, eye protection, intensive care unit equipment, and diagnostic testing supplies remain dangerously low. It is clear; there are not enough medical supplies, including ventilators, to respond to the projected ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and the only way to combat continued supply shortages is through the DPA.

The politics of the pandemic requires nurses to leverage what we know best and respect science, nature, and each other as we navigate the politics of the pandemic. If nurses use our collective political will, we can combat the coronavirus and its effects, including the epidemiology, economy, and equity, to better influence social ethics and justice that affect global and individual health. But first, we must remain diligent scientists, clinicians, and epidemiologists as Florence Nightingale has prepared us. Recently, Howard Catton, CEO, International Council of Nurses, noted Nightingale knew the importance of data in the fight against disease. Lack of data, in the case of coronavirus, potentially costs the lives of nurses, devastating their families and cutting their careers.