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Apple to donate 10 million masks to healthcare workers in the US

(Image credit: Tim Cook)

There is a mass shortage of masks as the US grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak. The nation, as of this writing, is currently burdened with 69,000 COVID-19 cases. To provide some relief to healthcare workers, Apple is donating 10 million masks to the medical community, TechCrunch reports.

How bad is the mask shortage, you wonder? Well, to put it into perspective, some healthcare workers around the country have no choice but to reuse protective masks, which could lead to increased risk of injection.  "Between patients," the New York Times wrote, "they spray it down with a disinfectant or wipe it off, hoping for the best."

Some members of the medical community launched a #GetMePPE social media campaign, which heightened awareness about healthcare workers' need for more personal protective equipment. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the Cupertino-based tech giant will be tapping into its resources to disseminate masks to doctors and nurses who care for coronavirus-positive patients.

"Apple has sourced, procured and is donating 10 million masks to the medical community in the United States," Cook said in a tweet. "These people deserve our debt of gratitude for all of the work they’re doing on the front lines.”

Apple isn't the only tech company lending a helping hand to the healthcare community. Facebook recently announced that it would supply medical workers with protective masks and donated 725,000 it had in reserve.

If you're wondering how companies have access to masks while medical workers around the country searching high and low for more personal protective equipment, according to TechCrunch, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted a regulation forcing employers to provide respiratory equipment for workers, including N95 masks, following last year’s devastating wildfires.

The US mask shortage, according to the New York Times, is caused by panic buying and difficulties obtaining masks from the world's biggest mask supplier, China, which is preserving its masks for its own coronavirus-affected citizens.