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Apple designs and produces face shields for coronavirus medical workers

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company plans to ship more than 1 million a week.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook says many teams at Apple are working on designing, producing and shipping face shields to medical workers battling coronavirus.

James Martin/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Apple has launched a companywide effort to design, produce and ship face shields to medical workers battling the coronavirus outbreak. The first shipment was delivered this week to a Kaiser facility in the Santa Clara Valley, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday.

"Teams across Apple have been working hard on ways we can support our heroic front-line medical professionals," Cook said, explaining that the fully adjustable shields pack flat and can be assembled in two minutes. "The feedback from doctors was very positive."

"We plan to ship over 1 million by the end of this week and over 1 million per week after that," he said.

Apple on Monday also published instructions to its website on how to assemble and adjust the face shields. The instructions include methods for sterilizing and reusing face shields.

Cook said the company is coordinating with health and government officials across the US to get the shields delivered where they're needed and hopes to expand distribution beyond the US quickly.

Face shield for medical workers

Apple has designed and manufactured face shields for medical workers, as seen in this render. They pack flat and can be assembled in two minutes. 

Apple

Cook also said that the number of face masks it has procured from its supply chain has risen to more than 20 million.

"This is truly a global effort, and we're working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure these are donated to places of greatest need," he said. "For Apple this is a labor of love and gratitude."

The new coronavirus causes the respiratory disease COVID-19. In March, the World Health Organization declared the virus outbreak a pandemic. As of Tuesday, more than 1.4 million people worldwide have been infected and over 80,000 lives have been lost. The outbreak has caused cities and entire countries around the globe to issue lockdowns, shuttering stores, canceling events and ordering citizens to stay at home to help contain the coronavirus.

Medical-grade masks and other items have been in short supply for weeks as health providers and millions of shoppers have stocked up. Doctors and nurses have sounded the alarm that they're running out of basic protective equipment as they care for a surge of new coronavirus patients.

Apple's push to produce and distribute face shield is just the latest effort by the company to help during the pandemic. The company has donated millions of dollars to help combat the coronavirus.

The company has also partnered with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs to launch a new organization to raise money "to feed the country's most vulnerable populations" impacted by the novel coronavirus.  The trio started America's Food Fund with $12 million as part of an effort to collect money for groups that help feed children who rely on school lunch programs, low-income families, the elderly, individuals facing job disruptions and other people impacted by the pandemic.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this report. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.