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Coronavirus prompts more American companies to produce medical supplies

Honeywell, United Technologies, MyPillow and Jockey said they would immediately begin producing face masks and hospital gowns

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American companies continue to come together in the fight against the coronavirus as President Trump updated the country on the pandemic Monday from the White House Rose Garden.

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HONHONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.169.06-1.17-0.69%
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Two names closely associated with national defense – United Technologies and Honeywell – vowed to join the fight against the coronavirus during Monday's briefing.

"One of the businesses we are in is protecting the industrial worker," said Honeywell chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk. “What we’re doing today is we’re repurposing a lot of that equipment to serve the healthcare worker.”

Adamczyk announced that Honeywell is adding face mask production to its Phoenix, Arizona, engines facility. Honeywell press materials state that the Phoenix plant is one of the company’s largest and has been manufacturing aircraft propulsion engines and auxiliary power units since 1950.

The company is hiring 500 new employees in Arizona to begin making protective N-95 masks. This decision comes less than a week after the company said it was adding N-95 mask production to its facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island, where it is also adding 500 new hires.

“We’ve doubled our production of N-95 masks already, it is going to double again in the next 60 days then within the next 90 days we’re going to have five (times) the capacity that we do today,” promised Adamczyk.

Greg Hayes, the chairman and CEO of United Technologies, said the fight against the pandemic is “a war that we are uniquely qualified to help” and added that “We don’t need the Defense Production Act to ask us to act.”

Hayes said the company is adapting some of its equipment to begin manufacturing protective face shields and said United Technologies will “be able to produce approximately 10,000 shields in the next four weeks.”

In addition, the company donated an estimated 90,000 pieces of personal protection equipment to FEMA last week, and Hayes added, “Next week we’ll have another almost million.”

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Also joining the fight is pillow manufacturer MyPillow and underwear, sleepwear and sportswear retailer Jockey.

"Given our current business lines, we are experiencing the effects of this pandemic firsthand," MyPillow CEO and Founder Mike Lindell said. "I'm proud to manufacture our products in the United States and I'm even more proud to be able to serve our nation in this great time of need."

Lindell said MyPillow has dedicated 75 percent of its manufacturing employees to producing cotton face masks. Within three days, the company was producing 10,000 masks per day. By Friday, Lindell plans to be producing 50,000 per day.

Lindell said President Trump's call to action "empowered companies like MyPillow to help this nation win this invisible war."

"We will get through this and get back to a place that is stronger and safer than ever," Lindell added.

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Jockey Chairman and CEO Debra Waller added that it is "part of our DNA to roll up our sleeves and help our country in her time of need."

"During World War II, we made parachutes for the military and today we are eager to serve this great country by providing support for the heathcare workers on the front line of this fight" she said. "When we learned of the critical need for PPE, we knew we had to help."

In partnership with medical supply manufacturer Encompass Group, Waller said that Jockey will restart the production of tier 3 isolation gowns. She added that the company initially expects to deliver 30,000-50,000 hospital gowns per week. Jockey will also donate 10,000 units of scrubs to doctors and nurses working at the Javits Center in New York City.

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According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 161,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States and nearly 3,000 deaths.