Apple, the world’s most valuable tech firm, is designing and producing face shields to protect health workers and medical staff from the novel coronavirus. The announcement was made by CEO Tim Cook on Twitter.
According to Cook, this is a company-wide effort, where Apple’s design, engineering, packaging and operations teams as well as its suppliers are working on the project. The first set of Apple-designed face shields were delivered to Kaiser Permanente hospital facilities located in California’s Santa Clara Valley last week. Each shield assembles in less than two minutes and is fully adjustable. He further adds that the feedback from doctors so far has been positive.
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 says Apple plans to ship 1 million face shields by the end of this week, and 1 million per week after that. The company is sourcing materials and manufacturing in both the US and China, Cook said in a video post message on Twitter.
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Cook said the Cupertino company is working closely with health and government officials across the US to get the shields delivered where they’re needed. The company hopes to expand distribution beyond the US.
Cook also said that the company has already sourced 20 million face masks through its supply chain. “This is a truly global effort and we are working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure these are donated to places of greatest need,” he said.
Apple has increased its efforts to help health agencies and governments fight against the novel coronavirus. The number of cases of coronavirus around the world rose to 1.22 million on Sunday, with the US being the worst affected by COVID-19. In the US, the pandemic has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 300,000 people.
Due to the growing cases of coronavirus in the world’s largest economy, medical-grade masks, face shields, and ventilators are in short supply. New York remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in the US with over 1,13,700 positive cases.