By Dave Reynolds

U.S. organizations are sending lifesaving medical supplies to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, part of wide-ranging U.S. efforts to stop the deadly disease.

More than 2 million respirator masks, 11,000 protective suits and 280,000 pairs of nitrile gloves donated by MAP International and MedShare were set to arrive in Shanghai on February 2 with transport from UPS Inc., according to Project Hope, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

Project Hope said it is helping to ensure delivery of the supplies to Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention and onward to hospitals in Wuhan.

“The skyrocketing demand for personal protective equipment has decimated the stockpiles at many health facilities in China, and this shipment will help shore up supplies in Wuhan so more patients can be safely screened and treated,” Project Hope said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said in a February 4 tweet that he is “grateful to the generous U.S. organizations donating to the relief efforts.”

Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation, which is assisting in the effort, said partnerships between businesses and governments are essential to a fast response.

“The world needs strong public-private partnerships to help contain the spread of this deadly virus and the UPS Foundation is expanding its humanitarian relief network to support our partners in providing supply-chain expertise and air transport,” he said.

President Trump announced January 29 the creation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force to lead the U.S. fight against the virus. The task force is composed of specialists from the government and the private sector.

The new virus, officially called 2019-nCoV but more commonly referred to as coronavirus, originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province but has spread around the world.

The World Health Organization on January 30 declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. U.S. pharmaceutical companies, including Inovio and Johnson & Johnson, are busy at work on vaccines.

Banner image: Masks and protective gear to safeguard against coronavirus are loaded into planes for transport to China. (© UPS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention