It’s been more than eight months since COVID-19 began compelling governments around the world, including across Southern California, to prevent people from gathering.
Sporting stadiums, music halls, movie theaters and performance spaces for things like theater and ballet have remained shuttered. Restaurants turned to take-out and outdoor dining. Most have limped along. Many are gone. Retail shops limit the number of people who can shop at the same time. Sales have cratered.
All along, the virus has killed. To date, Los Angeles County counts 611,00 people infected by COVID, although the true number is higher than the official tally. Among them, 8,817 have died. In Orange County, officials register 122,000 infections and 1,760 deaths.
Simple things, like protective masks and PPE equipment, help keep people safe. But they remain in short supply. In addition, people in many under-served communities cannot afford high-quality masks. But wearing masks is key to bringing this pandemic under control.
Today, Simply Food donates 60,000 reusable high-quality cloth masks manufactured by TripleSafeMasks to the nonprofit Operate USA, which will distribute them among under-served communities and non-profits. In addition, we donate thousands of different PPE items.
This brings the total donations by Simply Food to more than 200,000 cloth masks and many thousands of PPE items.
“Wearing masks saves lives,” says Simply Food CEO Thang Nguyen. “The practice also helps diminish demand for hospital beds, which in Southern California now are packed with people wrestling with this terrible virus. Simply Food treasures its vibrant community, and continually searches for ways to give back. Donating masks and PPE equipment was an easy decision for us. During times like these, nothing is more essential than protecting health.”
The pandemic has upended social, cultural and economic lives around the world. Here in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, suffering is widespread. Entire careers have vanished. Businesses are closing. Revenues to governments, which pay for things like fire and police protection, road maintenance and much more, continue to shrink.
The sooner we gain control over COVID, the faster we can return to the pursuits we embrace — family gatherings, movie screenings, baseball games, live concerts, spending evenings in thriving, crowded restaurants.
Most importantly, beating the pandemic will end so much heartbreaking sickness and death.
Finally, across the course of this horrific public health crisis, front-line workers face the threat of infection and death every day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rates of infection among these heroes is far in excess of the general population. While healthcare workers account for less than 3 percent of the population in most cities, they represent about 14 percent of all COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO.
We at Simply Food are humbled by the dedication, resolve and selflessness front-line workers demonstrate as they work to save lives. They inspire awe.
By increasing access to masks among under-served communities, we hope to simultaneously help cut rates of infection among the general population, and reduce demand for hospital beds. The fewer infected people in our hospitals, the better chance front-line workers will escape infection themselves.
With deep gratitude, we thank our front-line workers for serving as role models for the rest of us. Their example should inspire us all to face the pandemic with courage, grit and grace.