“This is another story of great American industry,” Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday at a White House briefing about the federal coronavirus response. “The president and I literally heard directly from Apple that they’re donating 2 million industrial masks to this effort around the country and working with our administration to distribute those.”
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
The coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19, has spread rapidly around the world into a pandemic. Cities, states and countries have mandated quarantines, health care systems are struggling and entire industries have shut down. In hard-hit areas, health workers are grappling with shortages of personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, such as masks. The masks not only prevent the spread of infection but also protect the doctors, nurses and others on the front lines treating patients from falling in and dropping out of the workforce.
Apple has already taken several measures because of the pandemic. It has closed all of its stores outside China “until further notice” (stores in China had been closed, but reopened as the number of cases there began easing), and it has modified one of its biggest events of the year — the Worldwide Developers Conference that brings thousands of app makers to Cupertino, California — by canceling the physical event and shifting to plans to an online-only version.
Last month, Apple warned that it’s likely to miss its quarterly revenue guidance due to the impact of the virus on its Chinese customers and its production facilities in the country.