Well known for smartphones, laptops and computers, Apple Inc has now turned its focus on making face shields to help medical frontliners in their battle against the coronavirus.
Apple Inc. has donated more than 20 million face masks worldwide and started manufacturing 1 million face shields a week, Chief Executive Tim Cook said Sunday, following a shortage of protective equipment for healthcare staff treating Covid-19 patients.
"This is a genuinely global initiative, and we work tirelessly and closely with governments at all levels to ensure that these are donated to areas in greatest need," Cook said in a Sunday afternoon Twitter video.
Cook said that 10 million masks had been distributed and donated to healthcare professionals over a week ago and now that figure has risen to 20 million. Most notably, though, Cook has revealed that Apple has also developed a custom face shields for medical staff.
The first shipment of such face masks arrived last week at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara County, and according to Cook, the reaction from the medical staff was amazing.
The initiative includes a 'company-wide project' involving product designers, manufacturing activities, packaging teams and suppliers for face shield design and development.
The face shield protects the entire face with a clear plastic sheet, rather than being a cloth covering for the head. Each shield is assembled in less than two minutes and fully customizable.
Apple expects to ship more than 1 million face shields by the end of the week, followed by similar rates or higher shipments in the weeks that follow.
The tech giant is partnering with U.S. authorities from the medical field and scientific fields to decide where the face shields are most needed, and is planning to extend distribution beyond the U.S. soon.
Technology companies such as Google and Facebook have also unveiled new campaigns and services to help fight the outbreak in recent weeks.
Google also released a mobility study that uses collected anonymized data from applications such as Google Maps to provide an overview of how people's activities have changed in recent weeks, potentially helping public health authorities understand how the public abides by social distancing guidelines.
Facebook has announced that it would spend $100 million through the pandemic to promote journalism across the news field.
Despite a worldwide shortage of healthcare equipment such as ventilators and emergency workers 'protective gear, organizations, educational institutions and individuals have joined the campaign to meet the demand.
In the United Kingdom, about 1,400 owners of 3D-printers have promised to use their devices to help the NHS produce face masks.