Why companies like Goldman Sachs, Apple, and Facebook had all of those N95 masks to donate in the first place

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N95 masks

  • Companies like Facebook, Apple, and Goldman Sachs are donating their stockpiles of face masks including N95 respirators to healthcare workers. 
  • The companies have these masks in preparation for wildfires or from past epidemics like the avian flu or swine flu. 
  • There has been a shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers all across the US. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Large institutions like Facebook, Apple, and Goldman Sachs have donated masks to healthcare workers amid shortages during the coronavirus outbreak, several news agencies reported. 

Facebook donated 72,000 masks out of its emergency reserve, Reuters reported; Apple donated 9 million masks, Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday; and last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Goldman Sachs donated 100,000 masks to his state, CNN reported. 

Leslie Shribman, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs told Business Insider in an email that the company is donating 100,000 N95 masks to both New York and New Jersey. Additionally, the company will also donate 50,000 N95s to the NHS in the United Kingdom. 

Shribman also said they were also working with hospitals in states like California and Utah to send masks "based on where the needs are most acute."

N95 masks are an important protective equipment component used by healthcare workers dealing with the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those masks are able to filter out at least 95% of particles in the air. 

These organizations had these mask supplies as a means to protect employees from other threats, such as wildfires.

"To help, Facebook donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the wildfires continued," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. 

Additionally, Regina Phelps, president of Emergency Management and Safety Solutions told The Wall Street Journal that some financial institutions began gathering face masks 15 years ago in light of the avian-flu outbreak in China. It was believed that face masks could protect people from being infected with a respiratory illness. Companies continued to stockpile those materials in 2009, in light of the swine flu pandemic. 

A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs told the WSJ that the company's mask supply "were procured in the wake of previous epidemics." 

"At this moment in time, Apple went to their storehouses and is donating 9 million N95 masks to healthcare facilities all across the country and to the national stockpile," Pence said. 

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, also said he'll be donating 250,000 N95 masks in an email to CleanTechnica.

Other organizations like Nasdaq Inc. and Mastercard have also pledged to donate masks, The Journal reported. 

Healthcare workers and experts all across the country have said there's a shortage of personal protective equipment needed to help doctors and nurses tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Business Insider previously reported. 

The US has more than 54,000 COVID-19 cases with at least 700 deaths. 

Facebook and Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

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