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Boeing will use 3-D printing technology to manufacture protective face shields for U.S. health care workers battling the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced on Friday.
Hospitals around the country have reported shortages of face shields and other forms of personal protective equipment, or PPE, amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. Boeing is the latest of several private firms that have stepped up to assist with production.
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“Our initial production goal is to produce thousands of face shields per week followed by subsequent production increases,” Boeing said in a press release. “Boeing has additive manufacturing machines in St. Louis, Missouri; El Segundo, California; Mesa, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that will be used for this initial response, as long as those facilities remain in operation, consistent with federal, state and local health orders and the health and safety of Boeing employees.”
Aside from the face shields, Boeing said it has offered the use of one of its largest cargo carriers to transport medical supplies to hospitals. The company added that it is exploring other ways to apply its resources to help authorities fight the pandemic.
Boeing said it has already donated “thousands of masks, gloves and other equipment” to assist health care workers.
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Several U.S. companies have focused on the production of face shields. Nike said it was working in collaboration with Oregon Health & Science University on potential equipment designs, including prototype face masks for medical workers. Bauer Hockey has also begun producing protective gear.
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U.S. authorities confirmed more than 101,000 individual cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, as of Friday afternoon, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. At least 1,581 Americans have died from the illness.
Congress approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus package on Friday in a bid to provide financial relief to individuals, small businesses and embattled sectors such as the airline and restaurant industries.
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Boeing petitioned the Trump administration for aid in the days prior to the bill’s passage, seeking $60 billion in government loans or loan guarantees. The company has struggled in recent months following the grounding of its 737 Max aircraft. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said the company was not interested in granting the government an equity stake in exchange for assistance.
Earlier Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX Business Network that Boeing would not receive a bailout.
“The taxpayers will be fully compensated,” Mnuchin said. “No bailout for Boeing or anyone else.”