Apple has sourced over 20m masks for medical workers worldwide and designed its own face shield, the company’s CEO Tim Cook has announced.
Last week, Cook said that Apple had sourced, procured and donated 10m facemasks across the “hardest hit regions” in the US and Europe.
But this number has now increased to over 20m. Cook calls it a “truly global effort” to support “heroic frontline medical professionals”. Apple is working with governments to ensure that the medical supplies go to places of “greatest need”.
Speaking in a video posted to Twitter, Cook said that Apple has been focusing on “unique ways” the company can help during the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the US has reported over 300,000 confirmed infections – and one way in which Apple could help is by meeting the “scale the circumstances require”, Cook suggests.
Apple’s face shield
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 also announced that Apple had launched a company-wide effort, which brought together engineers, product designers, operations and packaging team to design, produce and ship face shields for medical professionals.
While no official photos have been released, Cook showed the product in the video, which has a clear protective visor to protect medial professionals while they treat COVID-19 patients.
The first shipment has been sent to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara valley in California. Cook said that the feedback from doctors at the hospitals had been “very positive”.
The masks can be packed completely flat, with 100 pieces per box, and each shield can be assembled in less than two minutes. They are fully adjustable.
Cook says that Apple is sourcing manufacturing and materials from the US and China. Apple plans to ship over 1m of the shields by the end of this week, and a further 1m per week after that.
“We’re closely co-ordinating with medical professionals and government officials across the US to get these to where they’re needed most urgently,” Cook says. He also says that Apple is looking at ways to expand this reach internationally.
Apple releases updates on face shield
Apple has revealed details about the Face Shield, which comes in three parts; a forehead band, face shield and latex-free silicone strap.
It works by threading the strap through the forehead band and attaching the face shield. It can be sterilized and reused.
There are full instructions, including an assembly video, on Apple’s support page.
Design and engineering companies rally against coronavirus
Apple is not the only company that has turned its resources to helping the fight against coronavirus. In the UK, a consortium of engineering companies including Roll Royce and Airbus has begun production on two ventilator designs. While the NHS has around 8,000 ventilators, it will need around 30,000 for the COVID-19 crisis.
Dyson has also revealed its design for a ventilator, the CoVent. While the government has put in an order for 10,000 of the ventilators, the design has not yet been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Mercedes F1 has also designed and produced breathing aids in conjunction with UCL and UCLH to help coronavirus patients breathe more easily, in an attempt to lessen demand for ventilators.