Tim Cook
Getty
  • Apple has begun designing and producing face shields to protect health care workers in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement via Twitter on Sunday.
  • The company said it plans to ship one million face shields per week.
  • It also increased the number of face masks it's donating to health care workers in the US to 20 million, up from the 10 million it previously announced.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Apple is designing and producing face shields to protect health care workers in the United States throughout the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Tim Cook said in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday.

The tech giant is also increasing the number of face masks it's donating to 20 million, double the amount it had previously committed to providing.

The first of Apple's newly developed face shields were delivered to Kaiser Permanente hospital facilities located in California's Santa Clara Valley this past week. Cook said that each shield assembles in less than two minutes and is fully adjustable, adding that the feedback from doctors so far has been positive. The company hopes to expand distribution of these shields beyond the US.

"We are closely coordinating with medical professionals and government officials across the US to get these to where they're needed most urgently," the Apple CEO said in the video.

It's a company-wide effort, as Cook said the company's design, engineering, packaging, and operations teams as well as its suppliers are working on the project.

Apple is developing a face shield to protect health workers from COVID-19
Apple
Apple plans to ship 1 million face shields by the end of this week, and 1 million per week after that, according to Cook. The company is sourcing materials and manufacturing in both the United States and China.

Cook also said the company will be providing 20 million protective face masks for health workers in the US, coming just after Apple said on March 25 that it would donate 10 million.

It's the latest effort Apple has made to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 8,000 people in the US and infected more than 300,000 across the country. The company also recently launched an app to help keep the public up to date on the latest Covid-19 information, and said in mid-March that it was donating $15 million (R286 million) to relief efforts.

Other tech giants like Google and Facebook have also launched new initiatives and programs in recent weeks to help combat the outbreak. Google launched a mobility report that uses aggregate anonymised data from apps like Google Maps to provide an indication of how peoples' movements have changed in recent weeks, potentially helping public health officials understand how the public is abiding by social distancing guidelines. Facebook also said it would invest $100 million (R1.9 billion) in the news industry to support journalism throughout the pandemic.

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