Apple CEO Tim Cook took to a Twitter video to announce that the company will design and make face shields for medical workers battling the COVID-19 crisis, to the tune of one million shields per week. This announcement follows already publicized efforts to source face masks from the company’s supply chains; Cook said that effort has produced 20 million face masks to date.
“We’ve launched a company-wide effort bringing together product designers, engineering, operations, and packing teams and our suppliers, to design, produce, and ship face shields for health workers,” Cook explained in the two-minute video. He added that one shipment has been delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara valley and that the company expects to make one million face masks by the end of the week and just as many each following week.
Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
Cook went on to explain that the shields “pack flat, one hundred to a box” and that each shield can be assembled in under two minutes. Both materials and manufacturing will be sourced from the United States and China, Apple’s two primary countries of operation. For now, Apple is distributing the masks within the United States, but Cook said the company hopes to expand to other countries and regions in the future.
He ended his statements by encouraging viewers to follow local guidelines to shelter in place and maintain social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.
Apple is not the only company putting some resources toward producing critical supplies for the response to COVID-19. Tesla announced plans to work on ventilators, GM has worked at sourcing face masks, and many 3D printing startups have found their moment in this crisis, to name a few. Even some brewing companies have pivoted in full or in part to producing hand sanitizer.
Corporate responses to the crisis range from positive efforts like this to negative ones like mass layoffs or even efforts to profit off of the crisis.
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