As COVID-19 strains medical resources and doctors and nurses work in “war zone” mode, several more brands are offering equipment, supplies, clothing and food to beleaguered healthcare systems and its staff.
“Ralph Lauren will produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns to help with COVID-19 efforts. The fashion house is also donating $10 million to various charities, including the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to assist with its response to the coronavirus outbreak,” Seren Morris writes for Newsweek.
“Luxury brand Prada has also started producing 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 face masks, while Gucci will donate $2.2 million to two campaigns and has produced 1 million face masks, as will Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent. The latter three brands are owned by Kering, which has said it would be producing 3 million masks,” Morris continues.
“San Francisco-based Gap said it would also use its factories to make protective gear while using its connections in the global supply chain to get protective masks and gowns,” Justin Harper reports for the BBC. “Luxury coat brand Canada Goose said it would begin making gowns to be donated to healthcare workers. The production will start at two of its previously closed Canadian manufacturing facilities next week,” he adds.
Also, “Crocs is donating thousands of pairs of shoes to U.S. healthcare workers every day until stocks last. A spokesperson told Business Insider that these healthcare workers will be able to claim a free pair of shoes on its site every day from 12 p.m. ET. 10,000 new pairs will be added to the site each day and offered until stocks last,” BI’s Mary Hanbury writes.
“The company does not have an official way to verify the people claiming are actually healthcare workers, but said it is ‘keeping an eye on this’ and ‘trust that consumers will do the right thing,’” Hanbury adds.
Allbirds, “the Bay Area’s hip sneaker company, announced last week that it would give free shoes to any health care worker who reached out. The response was so strong that Allbirds says it was overloaded, donating $500,000 worth of shoes. Allbirds is now asking the public to help with donations, using a 'buy one, give one' model to split the cost on donated shoes,” Michael Nowels writes for The Mercury News, in a roundup of companies offer free stuff to medical workers during the crises.
“Popular doughnut chain Krispy Kreme announced healthcare workers can get a dozen glazed doughnuts for free every Monday, starting March 30, through May 11. Healthcare workers just need to show their badge at any Krispy Kreme drive-thru,” NJ Advance Media’s Nicolette Accardi writes on NJ.com.
“Coffee giant Starbucks is offering front-line responders a free tall coffee, hot or iced, until May 3. The Starbucks Foundation also will donate $500,000 to support front-line responders, along with equal donations to Direct Relief and Operation Gratitude,” Accardi adds.
Life-saving medical equipment remains a priority, of course. It’s not usually free.
Marketing Daily’s Tanya Gazdik reported Tuesday about Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shifting production to respirators, ventilators and other medical equipment and supplies.
“Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired 1,200 ventilators from China and shipped them to the U.S. for distribution to hospitals,” Gazdik writes.
But the announcement of “a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic” was suddenly called off Wednesday.
“The decision to cancel the announcement, government officials say, came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion,” David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman and Zolan Kanno-Youngs report for The New York Times.
“Trump to Hannity tonight: ‘When you talk about ventilators, it is a highly intricate piece of equipment. Heavily computerized and the good ones are very, very expensive. And they say Gov. Cuomo and others that say we want 30,000 of them. 30,000. Think of this,’” CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju tweeted last night. “Trump: You go to hospitals who have don’t even have one in a hospital and all of a sudden everybody is asking for vast numbers.’ ”
Yesterday, the U.S. overtook China and Italy to becoming the global leader in confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 85,991, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. It was exactly one month after Trump said about the pandemic: “And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.”
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