Tim Cook’s Apple joins global war against COVID-19
Apple deserves credit for the work it is doing as the entire corporation seems to be shaping itself to battle the coronavirus terror.
Not only was the company among the first to close its stores in order to protect people and punters, but it has very swiftly migrated from a view that things would soon get better to one in which it accepts the great danger the disease presents to humanity.
It’s time for everyone to act
Look, we know many of the things Apple has already done in response to the virus – just a few days ago it had taken multiple steps, since then it has donated millions more dollars and delivered many more responses.
Now it is making protective face shields for emergency workers and figuring out how to get millions of face masks to medical workers.
Apple’s Tim Cook is working from home and it seems continues to lead his company’s response. His (rather unprofessionally portrait rather than landscape) iPhone video transmissions have become a key means by which Apple’s leader sends out new information on Apple’s growing response.
Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
This is war
Cook has put Apple on a war footing.
And this is a war.
Because, if humans lose, not only will the scale of human misery in terms of lost lives, shattered relationships and planetary grief likely extend beyond that of anything we’ve encountered in the last 100 years, but the virus itself will continue to transmit itself and will continue to evolve.
Which basically means, if the disease beats our science then business will not continue to go on as normal – the impact on food supply being just one more major shock as this story continues. The economic consequences cannot resolve until the last battle is done.
This must surely be evident to anyone. After all, consumerism is no one’s first thought right now, and no one wants to pick the crops, either.
This is a war.
And this is why Apple has handed over 20 million masks it stock-piled following the disaster of the Californian wild fires to governments worldwide, and it is also why Cook has pressed the company’s design, engineering, operations, packaging teams and suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers.
We owe an immeasurable debt to every doctor, every nurse, every first responder, every person who is putting their life on the line to save the lives of others. Heroes walk among us. #NationalDoctorsDay
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 30, 2020
“Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara Valley this past week, and the feedback from doctors was very positive,” Cook says.
“These pack flat, one hundred per box. Each shield is assembled in less than two minutes and is fully adjustable. We’re sourcing materials and manufacturing in the US and China.”
The company will ship over one million shields by the end of this week and a further million every week that follows.
These shields are being distributed across the U.S. at this time, but the company hopes to push them globally soon.
Why does this matter?
It’s about the way the disease spreads itself. It thrives on droplet-based self-replication:
That’s why it likes to transmit itself through spitting, unprotected coughing and so on.
It’s highly infectious, and while it’s still difficult to fully identify its death rate, the basic facts are that the disease kills people fast. Not only this, but those dying today likely caught the disease three weeks ago.
It’s a nightmare scenario and our first responders – just like the people working in the most essential shops – are almost completely unprotected.
Which is why face masks and shields are so important.
If you want to educate yourself with the facts, rather than some of the nonsense appearing across social media and from the mouths of some politicians we expect to know better, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine offers a free course here.
I’m convinced Apple will already be exploring other ways in which its technologies can be used to help in this fight.
I’d be incredibly surprised if it isn’t already looking at how data from an Apple Watch can be used to provide at least some warning of disease onset, particularly in the light of a study published by The Lancet.
I’m also convinced the company will be seeking out other ways in which it can dedicate resources to the struggle against the pandemic.
Martin Luther King once said:
“All life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“We are in this together and will only get through if we act as one,” said Cook.