An Irish entrepreneur in China plans to help send millions of hospital masks, gowns and other vital PPE to hospitals around the world to aid frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.
Liam Casey, founder of logistics company PCH International, has already teamed up with U2 frontman Bono to help send €10 million ($10.9 million) worth of PPE to Ireland and now plans to do the same around the world.
PCH will assist in shipping the PPE around the world and also verify its quality.
Earlier this month, the company teamed up with U2 and several other Irish organizations to bring the PPE to Ireland. The company assisted in acquiring and shipping the vital equipment.
Casey appealed to some of the larger Chinese companies that manufacture PPE to supply the Irish donation.
He plans to do something similar on a global scale.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that each hospitalized case of coronavirus requires hospital stuff to go through as many as 24 sets of PPE per day.
With over two million confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world and a significant amount of those cases in hospital settings, this means that more than ten million sets of PPE are being used around the world every month.
To combat this huge demand, Liam Casey and PCH are trying to source manufacturers and donators and ship the vital PPE round the world.
“So many people are chasing PPE, countries are chasing it, different states in the US are chasing it, hospitals are chasing it, so it’s hard to actually get solid supply,” Casey said to Wired.
Casey, who has spent 24 years living in China, said that PPE simply has to work if it is going to be used by healthcare workers around the world. He said that PCH is rigorously inspecting any factories that offer to manufacture the equipment.
“You identify factories that have the licenses, you identify the factories that have access to materials, you identify the guys that have the automation and the capacity in their buildings, you want to make sure they can handle the volume.”
Headquartered in Cork, PCH develops and packages products for high-level companies in addition to handling logistics. It will ship the vital PPE from China to Long Beach in California - a journey that typically takes 30 days.
However, the company has acquired faster ships that are capable of completing the journey in two weeks to ensure consistent supply as quickly as possible.
The company will also be sourcing a billion non-medical grade masks that can't be used by healthcare workers but can be used by other essential workers who are not in healthcare settings.
Casey said that the biggest orders of these masks have come from food delivery services in the United States.
Sam Altman, founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator, is one of the people funding the project to help US workers.