Companies are stepping up to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and are donating medical supplies and providing financial support. Marathon Petroleum donated 9,600 N95 respirator masks to the University Medical Center of El Paso and El Paso Children’s Hospital. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts donated more than 2,000 face masks and 14,000 nitrile examination gloves to the community’s local hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., which operates the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in New Jersey, is donating more than 50,000 N95 masks to the state’s health care system. Dominion Energy, which operates four nuclear plants in Virginia, South Carolina, and Connecticut, committed $1 million to coronavirus relief efforts, with funds going to national organizations like the American Red Cross as well as local organizations. These are just a few ways energy companies are supporting humanitarian efforts to help those on the front lines—doctors, nurses, first responders, medical technicians, and other health workers.
As COVID-19 has taken hold throughout the United States and the world, health care workers are reporting shortages of these items in hospitals and health centers, inspiring many to organize donations of supplies. Volunteers also are sewing cloth masks and entrepreneurs are 3-D printing face shields to try to fill the gaps. People, who are sewing homemade masks for personal and hospital use, are sharing tips, tutorials, and videos across social media. But the CDC warns that those should be used only as a last resort because they are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE), since their capability to protect health care practitioners is not known.
Examples of Donations
Besides the donations to the El Paso hospitals, Marathon Petroleum donated 28,600 N95 masks to Skagit County, Washington bolstering the county’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marathon Petroleum operates an oil refinery in the Skagit County town of Anacortes. The county is one of 45 organizations throughout the country to receive a donation of PPE from Marathon. Overall, the company donated 500,000 pieces. The donation adds four to five weeks to the county’s supply of masks, potentially long enough to last through a peak in infections, which current estimates say could be in late April. The masks are being distributed by the county to hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and first responders. Smaller donations from other companies have been received by the county, including Shell, Harbor Freight, Paccar and Home Depot.
Dominion Energy committed $750,000 to nonprofits to help assist the communities that are home to the more than 7 million customers that Dominion Energy serves. The electric utility also committed $250,000 to the American Red Cross as it continues to mobilize efforts to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus in the United States.
PSEG donated over 50,000 N95 respirator masks to one of New Jersey’s largest health care systems in an effort to help the medical community meet its increased need for protective equipment. The masks are part of PSEG’s own inventory of emergency supplies. The company has also ensured that its employees have the appropriate personal protective equipment they need to respond to emergency situations. PSEG plans to continue to evaluate its inventory relative to its own needs as a first responder and to identify future opportunities to support the critical need of the health care industry, working with the state of New Jersey to provide equipment and support for the needs of health care workers and first responders across the state.
In late March, Tesla bought 1,255 hospital ventilators in China and shipped them to the United States. According to Elon Musk, China had an oversupply of the FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators that the company shipped by air to Los Angeles to help treat COVID-19 patients. The University of Washington, School of Medicine received a donation from Tesla of approximately 50,000 face masks. Tesla is also making ventilators at its Buffalo plant to support New York’s need.
Around the country, companies are helping support front line workers in their quest to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Private industry is ramping up production of medical supplies and according to President Trump, big shipments are expected soon from 3M. The federal government is distributing more than 8 million N95 respirators and 14 million surgical masks. Many millions more are on order and will be arriving soon. It will take everyone working together to get over the coronavirus outbreak and get back to normal lives and jobs. America’s position as the world’s number one economy is a huge benefit to Americans. The companies our free economy produces generate widespread benefits at all times, and that becomes more evident when our nation is under duress.