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Masks Become A Hot Item in Flushing
From Singtao Daily
May 15, 2003

As SARS continues to hit China and Taiwan, many Chinese-Americans in Flushing are buying masks and sending them to families at home, making masks the hottest stock in the pharmacies of the area.

Pharmacy owners in Flushing said they are unable to meet the demand because [there are not enough masks available].

Peter Goo, a pharmacy owner, said most people are not buying masks for themselves because there are no SARS cases in Flushing. They are buying masks for their families and relatives in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Since SARS hit some parts of Asia in March, the two pharmacies owned by Goo have sold at least 20,000 masks. The regular ones are $2.99 a piece, and the ones that provide extra protection are $15 a piece.

Molly Tu, another pharmacy owner on Main Street, said masks are the most popular items besides allergy medicine.

So far at least four local organizations, including the Flushing Chinese Business Association, have joined a campaign to collect thousands of masks for the Department of Health in Taiwan.

According to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, the Taiwanese-Americans in New York have sent 260,000 protective masks, 6,000 surgical masks and 200,000 injectors to Taiwan.

The Taiwan Center in Flushing is also collecting a donation of 5,000 masks and China Airlines and Eva Air will ship them to Taiwan free of charge.

A Chinese-American postal worker, Hsien Si-min, bought 1,500 masks to send to her sister, a nurse who cares for SARS patients in Taipei.

All the masks in the pharmacies in Flushing have been sold out for weeks, including the ones for construction workers.

A pharmacy owner said he was told by wholesalers that a delivery date can not be guaranteed, and 3M, a major mask manufacturer, told him that new shipments have to be sent overseas first.

According to the World Health Organization, there are at least 7,400 SARS cases and 577 deaths.
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung

Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung

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