Some cities and states may have seemingly gone back to normal but anyone following the news in the United States would know the coronavirus debacle is far from over.
It is in this regard that Ford announced it will transition to producing 100 million medical face masks as soon as it completes its mass production of ventilators.
Ford was among the automakers that offered its services when the United States was on the hunt for much-needed medical equipment in its fight against the coronavirus. The company, together with GE, signed a contract with the federal government to build 50,000 ventilators to be distributed across the US.
Fast forward to several months later, the Blue Oval is about to complete the order. It said that its factory is now scaling down efforts in building ventilators and slowly transitioning to producing another important personal protection equipment: medical face masks.
The new undertaking is scheduled to run through 2021 with Ford vowing to produce 100 million pieces of medical-grade masks. At the moment, the company is capable of producing 2.5 million masks per week, but this is expected to increase by October as Ford adds more machines to the assembly line.
Ford shared the news in a press release where it also stated that the masks will be distributed to Ford employees as well as people in “at-risk communities.”
“As the pandemic continues, so does the spirit, grit, and dedication of our Ford team and UAW partners to step up and contribute to [helping] our country,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “Working together, we’re setting a goal of producing 100 million masks for families, children, individuals, and communities who need them most.”
Members of the United Auto Workers have been in charge of working Ford’s assembly lines since the automaker began building ventilators. They have so far produced more than 45 million masks, 20 million face shields, 50,000 ventilators, 32,000 purifying respirators, and 1.4 million washable gowns. The Blue Oval also recently donated 10 million face masks to various organizations, including the American Red Cross and the National Urban League.