As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow exponentially in the United States, a few areas are currently being hit extremely hard. New York City and New Orleans, in particular, are facing outbreaks that are threatening the capacity of hospitals and have already left many healthcare workers and facilities without enough supplies to fight against the ever-growing wave of patients coming in.
As the death toll rises from coronavirus cases, the expectation from health experts is that we are still weeks away from hitting the hopeful peak before social distancing efforts can start reaping benefits in terms of flattening the curve. As such, there is a desperate need for more supplies, most notably ventilators and protection equipment for workers like masks and gowns. Some manufacturers are beginning to pivot normal production to making these items, but that is a process that takes time to make the amount needed.
For a place like New York, a massive amount of these supplies is needed in a fairly short time, and one of its native sons wants to help them get those supplies. Stephon Marbury, a native of Coney Island, is hoping to use his connections in China to help the city he grew up in as it faces this terrifying outbreak. Marbury told the New York Post that he has worked with a mask supplier in China who is willing to sell New York 10 million N95 masks at cost — $2.75 per mask — a significant discount from the $7.50 per mask most retailers ask.
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury said during a call from his Beijing home. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”
“I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time.”
It’s a great gesture from Marbury, who has seen the effects of the virus’ spread in his new home in China and understands what it can do to his childhood home of New York. Right now, per The Post, the issue in getting a deal worked out to allow the city and state to purchase the masks at this deal is in communication between Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, who is in contact with Marbury, and mayor Bill de Blasio and governor Andrew Cuomo. There has apparently been difficulty getting the higher levels of New York government on board and talking, although there has been some recent movement and the mayor’s office insists it wants to speak with Marbury on the matter.
Hopefully they can figure out whatever issues of bureaucracy exist and Marbury’s efforts working with his connections in China can help make a deal happen so that New York can get millions of needed masks in a timely manner.