Tech

Federal government got you down? Look at what Big Tech is doing for COVID-19

Apple, Google, Facebook, and even smaller firms are seemingly doing what Trump can't. But is it enough?

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$125M

The funds earmarked by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard for the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Bill Gates is leading the charge to find a COVID-19 vaccine

The Microsoft founder is funding seven factories to test coronavirus vaccines. Should any factory's efforts prove successful, the rest will pivot to produce that formula.

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“To get to the best case” of vaccine deployment in about 18 months, Gates says, “we need to do safety and efficacy and build manufacturing" simultaneously. He acknowledged the plan will result in the loss of “a few billion dollars” on projects that don’t pan out. But deems that cost worth it considering the lives it could save.

FiercePharma

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50K

The number of ventilators Ford Motors vows to create and send to hospitals over the next 100 days.

Source: The Straits Times.

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Facebook is pledging fundraising and gift cards for small businesses

As small businesses struggle to make ends meet during the outbreak, Facebook has stepped in by launching a $100 million grant program, a gift card registry, and by allowing business owners to set up their own fundraisers through their Facebook pages.

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30K

The number of ventilators Ford Motors and General Electric plan to provide per month after the former's initial round of 100k units goes out.

Source: The Straits Times.

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Microsoft's launched a COVID-19 tracker tool

Compatible with both desktop and mobile, Microsoft's coronavirus tracker collects data from major world health organizations. (The tracker also helps emphasize the need for social distancing to help reduce the virus' spread.)

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10M

On March 25, Apple announced it had delivered 10 million face masks to healthcare providers in the U.S. and "millions more" in hard-hit areas in Europe.

Source: Tim Cook on Twitter

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Alphabet's Verily is conducting volunteer-assisted drive-thru tests

1,000 Google volunteers have teamed up with Alphabet's Verily biomedical division to help with drive-thru testing and screening kits in California, CNBC reports.

1M

Apple's pledged number of face shields per week for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Source: Tim Cook.

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Apple's also launched a COVID-19 screening website and app

Dubbed the "COVID-19 Screening Tool," Apple's website and app helps people learn more about public resources like testing and the need for physical distancing.

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"Helping the world make sense of this information requires a broad response, involving scientists, journalists, public figures, technology platforms, and many others."

A recent statement from Alexios Mantzarlis, the director of news credibility at Google’s News Lab. Google has pledged $6.5 million to help third-party fact checkers combat COVID-19 misinformation.

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$800M

The coronavirus-relief amount donated by Google in ad grants, investment funds, and Google Ad and Cloud credits.

Source: Sundar Pichai.

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Amazon AWS has donated $20 million for COVID-19 research

Amazon AWS has donated $20 million to help research on detection. "One area where we have heard an urgent need is in the research and development of diagnostics, which consist of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19," the company says.

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Still, Amazon has yet to properly address complaints about lack of safety for workers. Plus, its relief fund for sick workers has elicited strong criticism for asking for public contributions.

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Diligent Robotics has sent Moxi to assist hospital staff

Easing some of the workload for hospital staff, Diligent Robotics has deployed its Moxi robot to help with trips to the supply room, disinfecting of surfaces, and providing help with other administrative chores.

720K

The number of masks from Facebook's emergency reserve that Mark Zuckerberg plans to donate to health workers.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook.

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Apple and Google have joined forces to provide COVID-19 contact tracing via Bluetooth technology.

Input

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$1B

The amount pledged by Jack Dorsey to Start Small LLC for COVID-19 relief.

Source: Jack Dorsey on Twitter.

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IBM is providing its supercomputing research abilities and analytics to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the United States Department of Energy in order to better understand the nature and spread of COVID-19.

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"These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling."

Dario Gil, director of IBM research.

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2M-3M

Number of face masks Google says it will donate to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: Google.

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The CDC has launched a COVID-19 self-checker chatbot in collaboration with Microsoft. Similarly, Facebook now offers a public survey to track COVID-19 hotspots and a coronavirus info hub in its Messenger app.

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$25M

The amount donated by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Source: CZI.

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$250M

The amount donated by TikTok to help fight the coronavirus.

Source: TikTok.

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Amazon is building a COVID-19 testing facility for employees

According to The Washington Post, Amazon is looking into developing a testing facility for its workers. Multiple Amazon warehouses have staff who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Google is helping New York State handle a huge influx of unemployment benefits applications amid COVID-19 layoffs.

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Razer will supply face masks to Southeast Asia

Global gaming hardware manufacturer Razer has announced it will set up manufacturing for face masks in the Southeast Asia region where a shortage threatens public health.

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Infervision has presented an AI solution for COVID-19 detection

Artificial intelligence solutions from both Infervision and e-commerce giant Alibaba are helping overwhelmed clinicians detect and diagnose coronavirus symptoms early on.

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Terra Drone is delivering medical supplies to the COVID-19 frontlines

The Japanese drone manufacturer has deployed drones in China to deliver medical supplies while minimizing unnecessary face-to-face interaction.

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Tech giants are using computing solutions to examine COVID-19

Both Google's DeepMind division and BenevolentAI are working on separate campaigns to better understand what kinds of protein build COVID-19 and whether existing drugs can help combat the virus.

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Still, room for improvement remains

In spite of the contributions, both big and small, from tech innovators, some major names lag behind. Among them is Elon Musk who vowed to provide ventilators but none of them have been delivered so far.

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No other phenomenon has tested the tech sector's abilities — and grand claims — the way COVID-19 has.

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The deadly virus has exposed the discrepancies in the industry and laid bare the contradictions between what CEOs claim and what CEOs actually do.

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At the same time, it has also shown people the power of partnerships between public and private entities, how an adjustment of priorities is key to fighting the outbreak, and how tech's approach to fighting the virus doesn't have to be singular and uniform — but multifaceted, complex, involved, and ever adaptable.

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