TECO Director General Chen (left), Florida Secretary of State Lee (Twitter, TECO in Miami photo)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Arkansas and Florida have thanked Taiwan for donating thousands of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) as the states continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, with Florida having overtaken New York in the number of cases.
The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Miami on Saturday (July 25) announced that it had gifted the sunshine state with 220,000 "made in Taiwan surgical masks." The office posted photos of the shipment and of Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee posing with TECO Director General David Chien (錢冠州) at the donation ceremony.
Meanwhile, Florida Congressman Ted Yoho tweeted out appreciation for the more than 2,000 face shields donated to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital by the Formosa Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), a Washington-based nonprofit that promotes Taiwan and its interests around the world. The equipment was among 9,300 face shields the organization said it had purchased after raising more than US$21,000 through crowdfunding.
Also on Saturday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson expressed gratitude to "President Tsai Ing-wen's government in Taiwan" for 10,000 N95 respirators, observing that they came two months after Taiwan's previous donation of 100,000 medical masks. When worn properly, N95 masks offer more protection against viruses and other very small particles and as such are being reserved for American medical personnel.
The donations arrived as the southern states struggle to contain a spike in infections.
Arkansas' confirmed cases, which as of Monday (July 27) stood at a relatively modest (by American standards) 38,623, saw an increase of 1,013 on July 23, the state's second-highest day so far, according to 40/29 News. Florida, the country's third-most populous state, is now second only to California in coronavirus cases, having surpassed the former epicenter of New York.
Taiwan has drawn attention for its timely use of mask diplomacy after ramping up production at the beginning of the global outbreak. It has donated millions of masks and other types of PPE around the world, including to the U.S., European nations, regional neighbors, and Pacific allies.