Tech giants Facebook, Apple and Salesforce have pledged to donate millions of masks to help health-care workers facing a shortage of protective gear during the coronavirus crisis.
Facebook is working to source millions of masks to give away after donating 720,000 that the social-media giant had stockpiled in case wildfires continued in its home state of California, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
“Health workers urgently need more protective gear,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Sunday post.
Employees of software giant Salesforce delivered 9,000 masks to the University of California at San Francisco, CEO Marc Benioff announced Sunday. The health-focused school put out a public call for donations saying its front-line coronavirus responders were in “urgent need” of masks, gloves and other supplies.
“We are working hard across all of our resources & relationships to deliver an additional 5 million masks this week plus additional” personal protective equipment, Benioff said on Twitter.
Apple says it has also been working to source supplies for health workers fighting the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 300,000 people across the world. The company is donating “millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe,” CEO Tim Cook tweeted Saturday. He did not say how many masks the company had already contributed or where exactly the gear would be distributed.
The tech firms’ efforts come as the US’s supply of protective masks runs dangerously low amid the widening coronavirus crisis. The shortage has gotten so bad in Washington State that hospital workers have reportedly made their own face masks out of vinyl, foam and other materials.
Minnesota-based company 3M has doubled its global production of N95 respirator masks to a rate of nearly 100 million per month. Fashion designer Christian Siriano also offered to start producing masks to aid the virus response in New York State, where more than 15,000 coronavirus cases have been reported.