Blowing the Cover on Covering Up

Wearing masks reduces the spread of COVID-19. Existing medical supply distribution networks have been challenged in providing hospitals with the necessary protective equipment to prevent infections inside their walls. Because of this dramatic shortage of supplies, there has been a debate whether the general population should be wearing masks. We believe that if everyone wears a mask, it will help lower the overall R0 value (Basic Reproductive Value) of the virus below 1. This means, each new person getting the virus will transfer it to less than one other person causing the virus to dwindle away over time. This is a basic infection control practice that's well supported by scientific research and is employed in healthcare systems around the world.

Our Solution

At the beginning of the crisis, we began to source medical grade and general purpose masks to help address supply shortages. We realized early on that the same supply chain we use for our smart home and smart lighting products could be leveraged to bring in much needed supplies. To date, we've imported over two million masks to North America.

Who are we supplying to?

We believe there are three tiers of need:
1. Hospitals, Clinics and healthcare staff - they're risking their lives and need medical grade masks the most.
2. Essential businesses that are forced to work during this time.
3. Finally, the general public.

During April and May, we ran a GoFundMe campaign to help accelerate the rate of our supply purchasing on top of our own capital. We're incredibly grateful to our generous donors, who helped us successfully source and deliver masks to healthcare organizations across North America.

Our Progress: 2 Million Masks Sourced

Healthcare organizations that we have donated medical grade masks to:
New York-Presbytarian Hospital, NY Dept of Health, NY Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Jewish General Hospital of Montreal.

Essential services that have received donated, general-purpose face masks:
Toronto Professional Firefighter's Association, Toronto Police Association, ATU Local 113 (Toronto Transit Commission Union), the City of Toronto, the City of Chicago, Detroit Fire Department, Albany County (NY), and the United Way.

In addition to donations, Nanoleaf has also supplied over two dozen healthcare and first responder organizations across North America with medical grade masks at cost (retaining no profit).

Our Journey so Far

Nanoleaf isn't a medical supply company, we're a technology company. We only intend on supplying personal protective equipment as long as the pandemic crisis lasts.

Along the way, we:

  • Were certified by Health Canada to import PPE (MDEL#11896)
  • Vetted over 200 manufacturers of surgical, N95, KN95, and general purpose face masks
  • Designed and assembled equipment to replicate the ASTM standard testing protocols in our materials lab
  • Set up a PPE testing facility in our Shenzhen office to assess samples
  • Validated quality claims on over 200 manufacturer samples
  • Got really, really good at spotting fake certification documents and giving unscrupulous traders the boot

ENDGAME

Controlling and eventually eliminating COVID-19 will involve a combination of things: an effective, widely available, long-lasting vaccine (2021?), widespread immunity/antibody testing to guide our behaviour, effective social distancing and preparedness, and wearing a mask when in public with proximity to people not in your household.

Not all masks are created equal. Because the virus is primarily transmitted by water droplets, any mask is better than no mask (sneezing, coughing, exhaled water vapour, et cetera). However, loosely-woven fabric masks are less effective at preventing the spread of water droplets than purpose-designed 3-layer disposable masks. The more people who wear a protective face mask in public, the slower the spread of water droplets that carry the virus causing COVID-19. A simple mask won't protect you from the virus directly, but if most people wear a face mask while in public (and are diligent about proper handwashing), there will be a lower risk of contracting the virus through those sneezes and coughs that carry it. And that means less people needing hospitalization or advanced life support, and fewer deaths.

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ENDGAME

Controlling and eventually eliminating COVID-19 will involve a combination of things: an effective, widely available, long-lasting vaccine (2021?), widespread immunity/antibody testing to guide our behaviour, effective social distancing and preparedness, and wearing a mask when in public with proximity to people not in your household.

Not all masks are created equal. Because the virus is primarily transmitted by water droplets, any mask is better than no mask (sneezing, coughing, exhaled water vapour, et cetera). However, loosely-woven fabric masks are less effective at preventing the spread of water droplets than purpose-designed 3-layer disposable masks. The more people who wear a protective face mask in public, the slower the spread of water droplets that carry the virus causing COVID-19. A simple mask won’t protect you from the virus directly, but if most people wear a face mask while in public (and are diligent about proper handwashing), there will be a lower risk of contracting the virus through those sneezes and coughs that carry it.

NEED A MASK?

SHIPPED DIRECT TO YOU

With supply shortages for hospitals and healthcare organizations easing, we're opening up our supply to the general public. By making masks widely available to anyone who needs them, at a reasonable price, we're hoping to enable more people to wear them and slow down the outbreak. We've priced our masks so that we're not retaining profit—but if we do end up profiting, we've committed to donating the proceeds to charities which are positioned to help address the social fallout from this pandemic.

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