Amazon enters the personal protective equipment (PPE) business.
In a blog post on Thursday, Brad Porter, Amazon’s vice president, announced his company’s plan to make face shields like the one pictured above on a large scale. The company also intends to sell them to customers at an undetermined future date.
According to Porter, Amazon has adopted an open source design, refined it, and repurposed some of its own shield manufacturing facilities with third parties. The company reportedly intends to list “hundreds of thousands”
“Because of the design innovations and capabilities of our supply chain, we are confident that we can list them at a significantly lower price – almost a third of the cost – than any other reusable face shield currently available at the forefront.” Porter writes.
Which, yay, cheaper PSA is a good thing. A donated PPE would of course be better. In early April, Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to “manufacture and ship face shields for health workers.” The goal was to earn 1 million every week.
Apple supports the global response to COVID-19. We have now sourced over 20 million masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations, and packaging teams also work with suppliers to design, manufacture, and ship face shields for medical personnel. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
– Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
Porter, in turn, said that Amazon would eventually sell the shields to Amazon customers.
“We want to prioritize frontline employees and ultimately open ourselves to all Amazon customers,” he wrote.
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This news came in particular on the same day that CNBC reported that a sixth Amazon employee had died of the corona virus. The worker George Leigh was employed in an Amazon warehouse in Bethpage, New York.
We contacted Amazon to determine if the face shields would be provided to the warehouse workers along with other PPE-like masks, but did not receive an immediate response.
According to Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos is valued at around $ 144 billion at the time of this writing.