The coronavirus pandemic has led to massive shortages of necessary items. Around the country, N95 Particulate Respirator masks have become exceedingly difficult to obtain, and some companies are stepping up to donate from their own personal supply. One such company is Nintendo of America. The video game company donated more than 9500 masks to Eastside Fire & Rescue Department in Northwest Issaquah, Washington. Some of those masks will apparently be distributed to other groups and areas that need them, including those in North Bend. The Washington area has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Nintendo, the masks were purchased for "emergency preparedness planning," likely related to the fires that have caused a significant amount of damage in states on the west coast.
Nintendo is not the only company donating their personal supply of N95 masks to help others. Facebook similarly donated 720,000 masks this week, while Apple made 9 million masks available. These companies also cited wildfires as the reason for their personal stockpiles, but as companies have shifted to work-from-home policies, the need for these masks among workers is far lessened, while emergency personnel and first responders have a far greater need.
It's certainly nice to see companies like Nintendo and Apple stepping up to help when there's a shortage such as this one. The last few weeks have been particularly difficult for emergency workers, as they are unable to truly socially distance. The masks will give first responders a greater chance of preventing further spread of COVID-19.
N95 masks are not the only thing in short supply, at the moment. The coronavirus pandemic has made the Nintendo Switch hard to come by, as well. Parts for the console are produced in China, where COVID-19 first hit, making it harder for Nintendo to meet demand for the system. With coronavirus cases diminishing in the region, it seems likely that Nintendo will be able to make them available again in the near future, however. Naturally, this shortage is far less important than the masks Nintendo has donated, but with people needing distractions now more than ever before, it's understandable that some are a bit upset by it.
Are you happy to see companies such as Nintendo, Apple and Facebook donating their supply of masks? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts (and creations) directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
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