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A woman makes face masks at a textile factory in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on March 16. Photo: Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images

Apple, GM and Tesla are among the U.S. firms diversifying from their specialist areas to help deliver essential medical supplies like masks and ventilators to assist in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Testing capacity for COVID-19 has expanded in the U.S., as demand for medical equipment increases. Leading medical associations expressed concern in a letter to President Trump Saturday that "there will not be enough medical supplies, including ventilators, to respond to the projected COVID-­19 outbreak."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Doctors have reported a shortage of N95 fitted masks, "a necessary tool to prevent healthy people from getting sick because they help block 95% of microbes," notes Axios' Marisa Fernandez.
  • Case numbers surged to 26,747 in the U.S. early Sunday — the third-highest in the world after China and Italy.

Leading the charge: An Apple spokesperson told Axios that the tech giant would donate millions of masks to authorities worldwide — including 2 million to the Trump administration to distribute around the U.S. and a further 1 million to California's government.

  • President Trump praised Hanes clothing company at a White House briefing Saturday for "retrofitting its manufacturing capabilities in large sections of the plants to produce masks and they're in the process right now."
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has previously downplayed the coronavirus, said his company would provide 250,000 masks to California hospitals, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told a news conference Saturday.
  • Tesla is in talks with medical device company Medtronic to make "state-of-the-art ventilators," Musk tweeted Saturday.
  • American brewer Anheuser-Busch announced Saturday it's using its supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer.
  • GM and Ventec Life Systems announced in a statement Friday that they are collaborating, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation's coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, "to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products" including ventilators.
  • GM and Ford both confirmed Thursday they were in talks with the Trump administration about the possibility of making such medical equipment to assist in the fight against the virus.
  • Freight logistics firm Flexport has "successfully sourced and is buying around $1.4 million worth of face-masks and other medical protective equipment that were requested by San Francisco's Department of Public Health," per Axios' Dan Primack.

The big picture: Trump invoked the Defense Production Act in order to help get medical supplies where needed.

  • A White House official told Axios' Alayna Treene the president is using the Defense Production Act to drive the private-sector’s response to this crisis. "[T]he private-sector’s response, to date, to his direction has been overwhelming, fulfilling government-identified needs faster than anyone thought possible," the official said.
  • Vice President Mike Pence said at the briefing Saturday the Department of Health and Human Services had "placed an order for hundreds of millions of N95 masks," though it's unclear when these would arrive.

Go deeper: Delivery date of medical masks to doctors, nurses unclear

Go deeper

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.