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Apple, Inc. is the latest company to come up with a design for a face shield to protect health workers from the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is planning to manufacture a million of these shields per week in the US and China. Apple has already delivered a shipment of face shields to a medical facility in Santa Clara in California.
We've launched a company-wide effort, bringing together product designers, engineering, operations, and packaging teams, and our suppliers, to design, produce, and ship face shields for health workers," said Tim Cook in a post on Twitter. The personal protective equipment (PPE) has three pieces—the face shield, and two straps. Apple has posted an instructional video on its site on how to assemble the equipage. The shields are adjustable and can be worn as a regular fit or with some extra space.
According to the company, they will be shipped flat in boxes of 100.
"Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in Santa Clara Valley this past week, and the feedback was very positive," explained Cook. "We're sourcing materials and manufacturing in US and China. We plan to ship over one million by the end of this week and over one million per week after that. We are closely coordinating with medical professionals and government officials across the US to get these to where they're needed most urgently," he continued. "We hope to quickly expand distribution beyond the US."
Face shields are designed to be worn with a face mask and protective clothing. They offer protection against fluid that might contain the Cover-19 particulates. Apple has made it clear that they are to be worn with PPE. Its disclaimer reads: "Intended to be worn with PPE. The device has not been tested or qualified to prevent or reduce infection, and does not provide particulate filtration.” The face shields need to be sterilized and can be sanitized for reuse using the instructions given on the Apple site. Besides the face mask design, Apple has also pledged to donate 20 million protective face masks to health care workers across the US. It doubled its initial commitment of 10 million masks, seeing the enormity of the shortfall in protective equipment in the country.
There are some other companies that are pitching in with ventilators and face masks. Tesla recently delivered 1000 ventilators in California.