Two months ago, the Chinese community in the US was scrambling to find and ship stocks of medical supplies to China as it grappled with the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, as the US is engulfed by the outbreak, with the highest number of cases in the world, the same community is on a new mission to bring medical supplies from China to American hospitals.
The first batch of face masks - donated and shipped by Northwestern University alumni based in a number of Chinese cities - arrived in Chicago on Friday and was delivered to New York City's NYU Langone Health a day later.
Two more batches, made up of 5,520 N95 respirator masks bought in China, are expected to arrive on Wednesday, destined for medical centres, clinics, nursing homes and fire and police stations in the Chicago metropolitan area.
For Chicago resident and Northwestern University graduate Wang Di, 32, the speed of the turnaround was unexpected. He did not expect the tide to turn so quickly.
Wang, who works for an asset management company, has been part of both relief efforts, organised by the Chinese Trading and Investment Association (CITA) - an international non-profit with branches in Chicago, New York, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
In late January, they were among a number of groups which scrambled to send supplies and funds to medical institutions in Hubei province - epicentre of the outbreak - as its health system buckled under the weight of cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
"Back in January, we called for people to fund doctors, nurses and volunteers in Hubei, who were in desperate need of medical supplies to fight the spread of the disease, and raised over US$112,000 within days, mostly from Chinese living in the US," Wang said.
The money bought medical grade masks, protective glasses and protective suits, which were delivered to nine hospitals in five cities in Hubei, according to CTIA's website.
Wuhan University Alumni Association of Greater New York - one of many alumni associations outside the Chinese mainland - donated and shipped 12 batches of medical supplies to more than 90 hospitals in Hubei in January and February. Today, the association is helping to bring Chinese medical consumables to the US.
It has also lined up live-streams between doctors in Wuhan and Chinese residents in the Greater New York region to help them better understand and cope with the spreading coronavirus.
The fundraising efforts to get medical supplies to the US have been going on against a backdrop of weeks of bickering between China and the US. Chinese diplomats shared a baseless conspiracy that the US military was responsible for the outbreak, while US President Donald Trump referred repeatedly to "the Chinese virus".
On Friday - the same day CTIA's first delivery arrived in the US - Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping promised in a telephone conversation to cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus.
For Wang, the swift shift in the focus of the pandemic, from China to the US, prompted a reflection about the common fate of humanity as it confronts the deadly disease. He turned to a Chinese idiom which observes that no-one is left unaffected when suffering strikes the group.
"In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, how could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest?" he said. "During hard times, we saw the solidarity shared around the world to fight the coronavirus all together."
Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.Artikel Asli