Since closing its theme parks, Disney has been actively searching for meaningful ways to make a difference during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And on Wednesday, Disney Parks announced it donated supplies to medial professionals across the country after learning nurses were using rain ponchos as personal protective equipment (PPE) in light of a global PPE shortage. All told, Disney Parks has reportedly donated hundreds of thousands of ponchos and N95 masks in an effort to aid those fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Disney Parks has donated 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare, a national non-profit that seeks to redistribute surplus medical supplies and equipment to needy hospitals in the United States and abroad, according to an update posted Wednesday to the Disney Parks Blog. MedShare has reportedly donated more than 2.8 million masks and some 200,000 isolation gowns since the coronavirus outbreak was first declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we've seen before," MedShare CEO and President Charles Redding said in a statement shared by Disney Parks. "We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to help the healthcare workers who are doing their very best to treat patients and contain COVID-19. We appreciate Disney partnering with us to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines."
According to Thomas Smith, Disney Parks' editorial content director, the idea to donate rain ponchos to medical professionals came after it was reported that hospitals around the country were having to use garments in lieu of PPE. "The idea was inspired by nurses across the country who inventively found that rain ponchos can be an excellent way to protect their clothing and prolong the use of PPE, while also freeing up gowns when needed," Smith wrote in a recent Disney Parks Blog.
Indeed the shortage of PPE has hit hospitals and medical professionals hard as the nation's number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise. In Kentucky, for example, Floyd County Emergency Management Agency director Kent Barrow recently told The Courier Journal his staff was now using rain ponchos due to a lack of isolation gowns. "We're reaching out to our retailers and asking for donations of rain ponchos," Barrow said. "It's probably not as comfortable or convenient but it's still going to provide the same type of protection."
Smith noted Wednesday that Disney Parks had also recently donated more than 100,000 N95 masks to New York, California, and Florida — three states The New York Times has reported to have been hit particularly hard by the virus' outbreak.
Disney Parks' donation of rain ponchos and masks follows reports that Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris had donated more than 270 tons of food to local food banks. Disneyland Paris has reportedly donated more than 100,000 items of medical supplies, including masks and hygiene caps, to the French government for distribution among hospital workers.
While Disney's theme parks remain closed, Smith said Disney Parks would continue to look for additional ways to help and give back during the coronavirus pandemic.
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