As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, one of the things that has become horrifyingly evident is there isn’t enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to go around to all the health professionals and caregivers who are putting themselves in harm’s way treating people struck with the disease.
The majority of this much-needed PPE includes face masks, face shields, and gloves. And while governments around the world are racing to secure supplies, companies have also joined the fight in trying to get PPEs to health professionals. Many tech companies in the Valley have already donated the face mask supplies they had built up to protect workers from California wildfires and soon moved to work with their supply chain contacts to acquire even more for frontline workers.
Matter of fact, in a video posted by Tim Cook last night, the Apple CEO announced that Apple has now sourced over 20 million face masks via its supply chain around the world. But Apple isn’t stopping there. Cook also announced that the company, known for the sleek industrial design of its smartphones and computers, has turned its design know-how and engineering and operations expertise to creating and manufacturing a face shield that health professionals can use on the front line.
As Cook points out, the face shields were designed so they can be shipped flat, 100 in a box, and easily be assembled by healthcare workers in less than two minutes. The first batch of face shields has already been delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara Valley.
Cook says that Apple plans to ship over 1 million of the Apple-designed face shields by the end of this week and will ship 1 million each additional week and notes that Apple is working with government and medical professionals to get the shields to the places they are most urgently needed.