KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s sister city of Tainan, Taiwan, donated thousands of surgical masks and eye-wear protection to Truman Medical Centers on Thursday.
The pandemic, along with trade disputes, have made America’s relationship with communist China less cooperative in the last year. That’s why the Sister City Association believes it’s important for all peoples to work together to defeat the virus.
The association joined friends that Kansas City has in Taiwan to donate 5,800 masks and 300 pairs of protective eye wear to Truman Medical Centers. Doctors said they still must reuse the most protective N-95 masks because of supply shortages.
The masks donated are not N-95s, which shows that even in Taiwan they remain hard to get. The shortage of personal protective gear is a worldwide problem.
“I think we have learned a lesson, that we have become a little over reliant on some of our international sourcing,” said Dr. Mark Steele, chief medical officer at Truman Medical Centers.
“Obviously with something like coronavirus, which is impacting the entire world, they obviously are going to be more protective of their own home countries. So absolutely I think we need to be able to ramp up our production here in the United States.”
Steele said N-95 masks at Truman are reused by disinfecting them with infrared light. Even so, they’re supposed to be one-time use equipment.
Steele said he’s hopeful that by the end of the year the supply pipeline is better able to meet demand.
Kansas City is home to a Taiwanese consulate and local leaders say the strong relationship that’s been forged over time is helping unite different peoples during the pandemic, instead of driving them apart.