For every hoarder who is caught stockpiling hundreds of thousands of masks, gowns and other “personal protective equipment” (PPE) in hopes of price-gouging hospitals and healthcare workers desperately in need of such items, there are many more American corporations and individuals stepping up to do what they can.
The Washington Examiner, for example, reports that 50 major U.S. companies have responded to President Trump’s call join the fight against the coronavirus by re-tooling their manufacturing processes to join in a massive effort to keep the supply lines flowing to the nation’s hospitals. The numbers are simply astounding.
Brooks Brothers will produce 150,000 masks per day, effective immediately. Ford and GE Healthcare are collaborating to produce 50,000 ventilators within 100 days and 30,000 per month thereafter. 3M will make more than 100,000 face shields per week, while doubling its worldwide output of N95 respirators to 100 million per month. Fiat Chrysler will make more than one million face masks per month. The list goes on and the herculean effort promises to result in something resembling the “Berlin Airlift” to keep hospitals and staff supplied with what they need.
In fact, companies like Lockheed Martin, Cardinal Health, Atlas Air and UPS are collaborating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to airlift critical supplies to places they are needed most. The effort has been dubbed “Project Airbridge.”
It’s not just PPE that is being produced. HP is utilizing 3D printing to produce equipment. Panera Bread and McLane Global Logistics are partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deliver meals to children.
Proctor and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx Express and Bayer are just a few of the other household names joining the effort. This is truly American business (and foreign companies with a presence in the U.S.) at its absolute finest.
But Americans (and indeed, people around the world) aren’t satisfied with leaving the battle to the corporate giants. Stories abound in the media and on social media of individuals and churches sending meals to first responders and hospital staff, or offering encouragement in any way they can.
Even before the billion-dollar corporations joined the effort, volunteers at home were sewing cotton masks and donating them to local hospitals. Although not of surgical quality, these masks were invaluable for hospital staff who used them over their N95 masks as a way to stretch their useful life. Facebook groups formed around the sewing project, and instructional videos taught the correct way to make the masks.
Hopefully with the big corporations mass-producing the N95 masks and other PPE by the millions, stories of hospitals pleading for more masks will quickly become a thing of the past. But knowing the Good Samaritan-like qualities of Americans, they will be off on the next best way to help in this vast humanitarian project.
And that’s just one of many things that makes me proud to live in this country.