The United States’ reliance on China impacts all Americans, U.S. Senator Martha McSally said Friday, and Sierra Vista’s healthcare professionals working at the hospital and the city’s nursing homes are directly affected.
In a telephone interview with the Herald/Review Friday afternoon, McSally, (R)-Arizona, zeroed in on China’s production of PPE, or personal protective equipment. The senator also spoke briefly about legislation she introduced that aims to “improve water supplies and management across the West through partnerships with the federal government, local water managers, and Western research universities.”
McSally said doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the city who must wear PPE are struggling to keep masks in supply.
“Our doctors and nurses here in Sierra Vista are relying on PPE that’s made in China,” McSally said. “We want to make sure that our doctors and nurses here in Sierra Vista have all the supplies they need.”
Last week, McSally said the U.S. must stop relying on China for medical devices, equipment and drugs.
“We saw in the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s very clear that outsourcing the production of PPE to an adversary was wrong and risky. I witnessed firsthand the ingenuity of Arizona companies that stepped up to help fill the gap. That’s no excuse for ignoring the fact that we must bring the manufacturing home of vital medical equipment like PPE, so that it will once again be made in America,” McSally said in a statement on July 22.
According to a summary in April in the Congressional Research Service titled, COVID-19: China Medical Supply Chains and Broader Trade Issues, “An area of of particular concern to Congress is U.S. shortages in medical supplies — including personal protective equipment (PPE) and pharmaceuticals — as the United States steps up efforts to contain COVID-19 with limited domestic stockpiles and insufficient U.S. industrial capacity.”
“Because of China’s role as a global supplier of PPE, medical devices, antibiotics, and active pharmaceutical ingredients, reduced export from China have led to shortages of critical medical supplies in the United States.”
The summary also states, “Now apparently past the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government may selectively release some medical supplies for overseas delivery, with designated countries selected, according to political calculation.”
An article in the New York Times On July 5 also focused on China’s grip on PPE production. An opening line in the story says, “China has laid the groundwork to dominate the market for protective and medical supplies for years to come.”
McSally said there is a lot of increased awareness in this country, in Arizona and locally, about reliance on China.
“Let’s bring it home,” she said. “Let’s have products made in America.”
As for the issue of water, McSally said the Water-Energy Technology Demonstration and Deployment Act “would leverage water-energy advancements made at the Department of Energy by putting the latest technology in the hands of local water managers working with the Bureau of Reclamation.”
Passage of the legislation would be a bipartisan effort, McSally said, and she has been communicating with local stakeholders.
“Water will impact all of us in Arizona,” McSally said. “We are engaging with local water managers in Cochise County.”