TAMPA—Dozens of long-term care workers and members of the state’s largest healthcare union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, held a vigil in Tampa recently to mourn the deaths of more than 1,500 nursing home patients and caregivers – as well as all victims – related to the Covid-19 coronavirus, and to protest the lack of leadership during the crisis from Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.
Nursing home patients and caregivers make up more than half of the 3,000 total Covid-related deaths in Florida.
One by one, caregivers and union officials placed 3,000 flowers – representing each death — on a temporary memorial outside of Rubio’s and Scott’s offices at the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse in Tampa. They were joined by community leaders from organizations such as Organize Florida and other groups..
“Our seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes have suffered dramatically and disproportionately from Covid-19,” said Pearl Gooden, a certified nursing assistant in Tampa.. “Senators Rubio and Scott and their bosses in Washington have been absent in solving this crisis so far, and it’s time they step up.”