With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the country, ACC is helping combat the disease by leaning into our wheelhouse – chemistry.
Early on in the pandemic, grocery store shelves where disinfectants were located became empty as shoppers quickly snapped up anything they could find that could disinfect surfaces for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 infection). State and local governments were also unable to find the needed surface disinfectants to help protect people in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, firehouses, municipal buildings, and public areas.
This raised the question – how could ACC help state and local governments overcome these shortages?
Prior to the pandemic, ACC’s government advocacy focused on policy. However, in the new normal we shifted our efforts to help localities meet the acute needs to disinfect surfaces to help protect their people. Considering ACC’s members include manufacturers and suppliers of disinfectant products, it became obvious we had a role to play connecting our members’ products with the communities that need them most.
To help out, ACC’s Chlorine Chemistry Division donated over 22,500 gallons of bleach in 10 different states. When diluted with water at a strength to inactivate SARS-CoV-2, that amount of bleach can make over 1 million gallons of disinfecting solution.
ACC secured the product and bulk transportation logistics, but how could we get it distributed throughout a community or into a healthcare facility? We needed partners at the local level for that. So we started making calls to state and local health departments, governors’ offices, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Women in Government Foundation. Without hesitation, they accepted the next logistical challenge by rallying their people to help distribute the product where it was needed.
Local distribution took on many forms. For example, Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter loaded up her car’s trunk with bleach and drove it to hospitals and seniors’ homes in her district (pictured). Iowa’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management distributed the bleach to all of the state’s 99 county health departments. And New York City’s Emergency Management Department received and distributed a semi-truck load of bleach to hospitals hit hardest by COVID-19.
Regardless of how the bleach made it to its final destination, one thing became strikingly clear: chemistry has a critical role to play to combat COVID-19, but people working together (while staying distanced) are essential.