CHICAGO — Nurses across the country, including in Chicago, are calling Thursday a Day of Action.

They are calling for better staffing and protective gear as the nation’s healthcare system is straining once again from COVID-19 cases.

Omicron is to blame for the current wave of infections and hospitalizations. About 7,200 people are being hospitalized in Illinois with Covid. Of those, more than 80 percent are unvaccinated.

Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday he was trying to help by deploying more than 2,000 healthcare workers across the state. Some will arrive in the hardest hit areas on Friday.

Fauci: Omicron will infect ‘just about everybody’

National Nurses United, the largest nurses union, says there isn’t a nursing shortage, just a shortage of nurses willing to work in unsafe conditions. They want OSHA to make permanent its Covid protections for healthcare workers.

The nurses union is also upset that the CDC shortened isolation times on people testing positive for Covid.

The union says Covid has exacerbated the staffing issues seen at hospitals. Nurses see this as a manufactured problem and hospitals profits over protecting patients and it’s employees.

The Day of Action protests are happening all over the country Thursday. There will also be a candle light vigil to honor nurses who died of Covid.

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