Nurses picket outside United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 20, 2020, seeking a say in higher safety standards.

AP Photo/Jim Mone

62,000 healthcare professionals in the US have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Tuesday.

The numbers are likely far higher.

Of the healthcare workers who tested positive, the CDC said it only has death data for 57% of them. 

Additionally, 84% of US nurses have never been tested, according to the National Nurses United union.

Healthcare workers say their colleagues are dying because a shortage of personal protective equipment is putting them in harms way. 

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At least 62,000 US healthcare professionals have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In an update published Tuesday, the CDC said 291 healthcare workers have died, and that there were a total 62,344 infections in the profession. This figure includes people who have died, recovered, and are still battling the coronavirus.

But the numbers are likely far higher than the CDC says.

Data on death have been only available for 35,460, or 57%, of the healthcare workers who have tested positive.

And out of the 1,327,266 people surveyed, only 282,366 (21.3%) identified their profession.

Additionally, 84% of US nurses have never been tested for the virus, according to a survey of 23,000 nurses by National Nurses United — the largest nursing union in the US — conducted between April 15 and May 10.

Doctor and nurses seen at Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kansas, on May 20, 2020.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The last CDC update on healthcare worker infections and deaths was six weeks ago, on April 17, at which point 9,282 had tested positive.

In the wake of that update, Business Insider spoke with the families of those healthcare workers that lost their lives to the coronavirus. You can read their stories here.

Healthcare workers have vocally criticized the dearth of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to protect themselves.

Nurses are applauded by police and firefighters as they leave Kaiser Hospital at the end of their shift on May 14, 2020 in South San Francisco, California.

ustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Story continues

A vast majority — 87% — of the nurses surveyed by National Nurses United said they have had to reuse single-use PPE.

Many others have resorted to using improvised measures such as rain ponchos and garbage bags.

In early May, “Project Airbridge,” a program designed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner to fly PPE from Asian manufacturers to US hospital suppliers, began winding down, despite the continued shortages.

President Donald Trump has denied the shortages and sought to rubbish the concerns of healthcare workers.

On May 12 — National Nurses Day — Trump called reports of PPE shortages “fake news.”

Healthcare professionals at a lab with antibody tests.

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

He also took issue with an April 6 Department of Health and Human Services report that warned of PPE shortages, calling it “wrong.”

As of Wednesday morning, the US is nearing 100,000 deaths. More than 1.6 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus, the CDC said.

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