Georgia companies with significant presence in China continued working with nonprofits to aid the coronavirus response as confirmed cases worldwide eclipsed 20,000 Tuesday.
Delta Air Lines Inc., which last week suspended all flights to China through April, donated $250,000 to the Red Cross Society of China to provide immediate medical aid and educational support to responders.
China’s mask factories have been working at full tilt, and various supplies have dwindled as the virus has spread rapidly. Some experts suspect that the number of cases could be even higher than reported, given a shortage of test kits in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. A new 1,000-bed hospital specifically for coronavirus patients was built there over 10 days, opening Feb. 3.
The UPS Foundation on Jan. 31 said it would fly a shipment of supplies into China free of charge. In a demonstration of collaboration among Georgia’s global health community, a UPS plane carried more than 1.3 million respirator masks, 10,000 coveralls and 280,000 nitrile gloves donated by Savannah-based MAP International. MAP’s donation came to some 120 pallets. Atlanta’s MedShare also contributed, bringing the total number of masks and coveralls shipped by UPS to 2 million and 11,000, respectively. MAP said in a news release that the supplies were “pre-placed” to respond to such an outbreak, and it’s raising $100,000 to replenish its stock.
The Red Cross Society of China, which Delta is helping fund with its gift, is receiving the UPS shipment on the ground and coordinating with the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control on distribution.
Atlantans are also responding in other ways: A Chinese New Year business forum Thursday night hosted jointly by the Georgia State University Confucius Institute, the Chinese Business Association of Atlanta and the World Trade Center Atlanta will collect donations of gloves, medical protective masks, disposable masks, surgical masks, isolation suits and medical goggles.
The institute’s executive director, Kimberly Henshaw, said she got the list from partners in China and is interested to see what people bring to the event. Some stores have been short on supplies.
“We have actually tried a few CVS and Walgreens stores near us, and they’ve been sold out,” Ms. Henshaw said. “I live near Chamblee Chinatown though, so I suspect we are not the only ones collecting items to send overseas.”
Elsewhere, the CDC Foundation raised $1 million for its Emergency Response Fund from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a donation that will go toward efforts to fight the virus at home, but also to “support the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more.”
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., meanwhile, got the green light from the Chinese government to reopen some of its 45 plants in China four days ago after an ordered closure through Feb. 9. But Coke’s China offices remain closed and business travel to China is suspended through March, according the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Coke has provided some of its 47,000 company and bottling system workers with face masks, hand sanitizer and has installed temperature screening in some offices and plants.