While the news has been grim for weeks, there are always stories of good will to be found in times of fear and anxiety. From local seamstresses to tech giants, it seems everyone is trying to do their part to stem the spread of coronavirus. In Europe, companies banded together to help Italy’s hospital workers fight the unprecedented spread of the deadly disease. And as the city that never sleeps transformed into the new epicenter of disease, empty of its lively street crowds and vibrant businesses, the U.S. turned its attention to especially getting New York back on its feet.
Tech Giants Supply Masks
Facebook is donating the 720,000 face masks it has stored in case of California wildfires with plans to source millions more for our healthcare workers on the front lines. Apple’s Tim Cook took to Twitter to announce that he will provide 10 million masks to the U.S. and millions more to regions in Europe hit hardest with the virus. These big businesses are using their giant operational teams to find and purchase masks from their supply chains in coordination with governments around the world.
Fashion Industry Revamps
The fashion industry is also doing its part to meet face mask demand. Prada announced that it’s producing 80,000 overalls and 110,000 face masks at one of its factories for Italian medical personnel, while Louis Vuitton announced it has located and purchased 40 million N95 medical-grade masks to distribute to healthcare workers. Workshops of Balenciaga, Gucci, and Saint Laurent will be producing disposable face masks as fast as they can, while Zara pledged to donate hospital gowns and masks. Back in the U.S., textile brands like Los Angeles Apparel, AST Sportswear, HanesBrands, and Fruit of the Loom are working with the government to produce masks.
Pro and Home Crafters
Even crafters across the U.S. are pitching in. Codi Natelli, who helps run the Facebook group “Colorado Crafting for a Cause,” helped get this movement off the ground. “I have this huge network of skilled crafters. How do I put that to use?” Natelli said to Fox News. Now, hospitals are sending medical-grade materials to sewing communities so they can assemble masks in their homes meant to be worn over N95 masks to offer them an additional layer of protection and allow the N95s to be reused.
Auto-Makers and Breweries
Tesla is putting space travel on hold to not only donate 250,000 medical-grade N95 masks to U.S. healthcare workers, but to revamp Medtronic’s manufacturing processes. The largest U.S. medical device supplier will now double weekly output of much needed ventilators. These respiratory machines are in high demand; COVID-19 patients treated in the hospital need assistance breathing. Companies such as Ford and General Motors are planning to put their dormant factories to use to produce ventilators as well. Meanwhile, U.S. distilleries and breweries, like Anheuser-Busch, Galion, and BrewDog are using their equipment to produce and donate hand sanitizer.
When it became clear that the common malaria drug, chloroquine, could treat symptoms of COVID-19, pharma companies rushed to the aid. Bayer donated three million tablets, Teva is donating six million, Mylan is ramping up production to donate 50 million, and Novartis pledged a global donation of 130 million tablets. Roche has already started shipping coronavirus tests to the U.S. and plans to get at least 400,000 out every week.
Big businesses are hoping to make a big impact by pooling funds. Amazon and Microsoft put together a COVID-19 Response Fund to provide grants to organizations helping at-risk populations, such as workers who can’t take sick leave, people without health insurance, and healthcare workers. They and their partners have pulled in $2.5 million so far. Amazon also announced that it is investing $20 million into development of faster COVID-19 testing. Facebook is committing $10 million to the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and an additional $10 million for the CDC Foundation. Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation has donated $5 million to Partners in Health, Direct Relief, Feeding America, Rescue Org, and WHO, all companies now dedicated to providing medical gear, supplies, and food to across multiple countries.
Your donations and skills can help too! Head to Facebook to find out how to help sew medical masks, help elderly neighbors stay out of harm’s way by offering to pick up their groceries, or simply stay home and flatten the curve!