In response to the Coronavirus health crisis, American businesses are working to ensure the American people obtain basic necessities and critical medical supplies.

All across the country, companies large and small are donating supplies and retrofitting facilities to produce masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment. The healthcare industry is working around the clock at a record pace to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and ensure Americans are getting the care they need. Technology companies are making it possible for millions of workers to videoconference and work remotely, as well as providing critical support for frontline healthcare workers. 

Despite the extreme economic hardships that the Coronavirus has brought, the private sector is working hard to help Americans in need.

The Healthcare Industry Is Working Overtime to Ensure Americans Are Getting Care

Healthcare companies are working at record pace to develop a Coronavirus vaccine and manufacturers already have numerous clinical trials underway to develop treatments. In the meantime, pharmaceutical companies are providing financial support and donating supplies to patients and organizations around the world. For example:

  • Bristol Myers Squibb: providing financial support to healthcare workers, patient advocacy organizations, and community-based organizations that serve vulnerable populations.

  • GlaxoSmithKline: donating surplus reagents to countries to support diagnostic testing as well as allowing employees with medical expertise to provide support to frontline healthcare workers and governments.

  • Johnson and Johnson: over $3.7 million donated in personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers.

  • Merck: over 800,000 masks donated for healthcare workers in New York and New Jersey.   

Health plans are also stepping up to ensure American patients don’t have to worry about paying for Coronavirus-related health expenses. For instance: 

  • Aetna: waiving co-pays for all diagnostic COVID-19 testing. 

  • Cigna: covering all costs related to COVID-19 treatment. Previously, the carrier announced that they would cover all costs related to Coronavirus testing.

  • Humana: covering COVID-19 testing as well as providing financial and administrative relief for healthcare providers.

The response of the U.S. healthcare industry to the Coronavirus stands in stark contrast to countries with government-run healthcare that are buckling under the strain of unprecedented demand. If anything, the response of single-payer countries to this crisis shows the fatal flaws of the so-called “Medicare for All” model. 

Companies Are Retrofitting Facilities and Donating Supplies

All across the country, companies that don’t normally produce medical supplies are retrofitting facilities to produce masks, ventilators, and other equipment necessary to fight COVID-19. Some companies are donating millions of masks globally to frontline healthcare workers in need. Examples include:

  • Amazon has added an extra 100,000 jobs to help millions of Americans get the household supplies and groceries they need from the safety of their homes. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also made a $100 million donation to Feeding America, the largest American nonprofit focused on food security. 

  • Anheuser-Busch, an American brewery, is beginning to produce and distribute bottles of hand sanitizer.

  • Apple will produce 1 million face shields per week for medical workers. Apple has also donated 20 million N95 masks to governments and hospitals. 

  • Ford is beginning to build ventilators. Ford joined with GE Healthcare to build ventilators. Together, these companies plan to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.

  • General Motors is beginning to build ventilators. GM has partnered with Ventec Life Systems, and expects to help the company produce 10,000 ventilators a month using a retrofitted facility in Indiana.

  • SoftBank, a Japanese holding company, is donating 1.4 million respirators to the state of New York.

Local companies and small businesses are also stepping in by recruiting volunteers to produce masks and other equipment:

  • Hickey Freeman, a clothing retailer in Rochester, New York, has dedicated its operations to producing masks for local hospitals and beyond. More than 7,000 volunteers have contacted the company asking to help, and they soon will be able to produce hundreds of thousands of masks a week.

  • iPromo, a promotional materials company in Chicago, Illinois, is using its sourcing relationships in China to buy masks and other medical supplies. In just five days, the company leveraged these relationships into a new platform called iHealth, where hospitals and pharmacies can order supplies.

  • Shine Distillery and Grill, a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, is producing hand sanitizer from alcohol usually used to make vodka and other spirits.

Technology Companies Are Keeping Americans Connected More Than Ever

Technology companies are also committing an unprecedented amount of money and computing resources towards keeping the medical supply chain afloat. Wireline and wireless broadband networks are responding to Covid-19 by keeping the networks running smoothly, supporting displaced customers, and committing valuable resources to the fight against the virus.

Industry partners IBM, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard have collaborated to create the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, a project that will commit “an unprecedented amount of computing power—16 systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting — to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments and potential cures.”

Technology companies are also helping ordinary Americans get through this crisis by waiving late fees, providing unlimited data for users, and helping employees stay afloat with expanded compensation programs. Examples include: 

  • AT&T: waiving late fees and suspending termination of services for customers unable to pay bills due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Comcast: providing unlimited data to customers for no extra charge. Comcast is also waiving late fees and not disconnecting service for customers unable to pay their bills. 

  • Charter: offering free Spectrum internet and WiFi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students, as well as educators. Charter will not disconnect customers unable to pay their bills. 

  • Verizon: implementing an enhanced compensation program for employees who need to work with customers in person during the pandemic. Verizon is also waiving late fees and cancelations for customers 

  • T-Mobile: providing 60 days of unlimited data to all mobile customers, dedicating more resources to low-income customers, and launching a $15/month plan to lower costs for consumers. 

[See also: Tech & Telecom Networks Support America through COVID-19 via Digital Liberty] 

Despite the unprecedented economic calamity that the Coronavirus pandemic has caused, businesses large and small are pitching in to help get the United States through this crisis.