TODAY'S PAPER
70° Good Evening
70° Good Evening
NewsHealthCoronavirus

Long Island Chinese Americans donate masks, other supplies to hospitals

Security officer Willie Bullard, left, volunteer Michelle Zhao

Security officer Willie Bullard, left, volunteer Michelle Zhao of Jericho, and Intensive Care Unit director Dr. Qiuping Zhou help bring in boxes of donated masks to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset Thursday. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, members of the Chinese American community have rushed to donate tens of thousands of masks to local hospitals to protect medical workers fighting on the front lines.

“They are the hero,” said Gordon Zhang, president of the Long Island Chinese American Association. “If they fall, if they get infected with the coronavirus, then we are going to lose the battle. … They are the people we have to protect.”

Across Long Island, nearly a dozen Chinese American associations have banded together to raise $70,000 to purchase 14,500 3M-made KN95 masks and 20,000 surgical masks.

In the past week, 5,000 KN95 masks and 20,000 surgical masks were donated to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside and NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.

Organizers said they paid $4 for each KN95 mask, and 9,500 more will be donated to other local hospitals in the coming weeks.

“We know that’s expensive. But ... it was worth it to pay it because these are people’s lives,” said Christine Liu of New Hyde Park, a board member of the Chinese American Association of North Hempstead and the Herricks Chinese Association. “People on the front lines are risking their lives for all of us. So this is the least we can do.”

The donation efforts come at a time when there appear to be an uptick of harassment and discriminatory incidents targeting Asian Americans.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump began calling COVID-19, which originated in China, the “Chinese virus." Trump has since changed his stance, saying this week that he would stop using the term and tweeting a call to “protect our Asian American community."

“We are outstanding citizens in our society. We should not be stigmatized in this manner,” Liu said, calling the phrase "insulting." “We are not sitting back. We are helping the whole situation.”

A separate group of 66 Chinese Americans from across Nassau purchased 10,000 surgical masks, which are in high demand during the pandemic, from a factory in China. The masks were delivered Tuesday to doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre.

The group, which is arranging their efforts through WeChat, a popular Chinese social media phone app, have collected nearly $10,000 in donations thus far, said Tingting Wang of Jericho, one of the organizers of the collection effort.

“All of the neighbors participating in donation are originally from China,” Wang said. “They paid close attention to coronavirus epidemic situation from the end of January. They learned the importance of wearing surgical masks to protect others and themselves in public.”

The organizers have put in a second order for another 20,400 masks that will be delivered to a yet-undetermined hospital or medical facility in the coming weeks, Wang said.

“We are incredibly thankful for this generous donation at a time when there is a nationwide shortage of supplies,” said Peter Scaminaci, president of Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage. “This community support means so much to our staff who are making many sacrifices and continuing to care for our community. It’s a great way to thank the doctors and nurses for their service.”

Zhang of Woodbury, who emigrated from China in 1996 and became a naturalized citizen years ago, said the Chinese American community is stepping up to help the country pull through an unprecedented crisis.

“As a guy who has lived here for twenty-some years, this is my community. … This is my home,” Zhang said. “We are in this together, and we will get through this together.

A third Chinese American group called Save Jericho on Thursday donated thousands of masks, gloves, goggles, hand sanitizers and shoe covers to the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, part of the Northwell Health system.

Nassau and Suffolk County officials have been separately organizing medical supply drives, requesting masks, eye protection gear, Nitrile rubber gloves, disposable gowns, shoe covers, no-touch thermometers, ventilators, antibacterial and disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Health