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Razer shifts some production to surgical masks amid coronavirus outbreak

The company will donate produced masks to ‘frontline healthcare staff’

a man holding a Razer smartphone in his hands Image: Razer
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Gaming peripheral company Razer will shift a number of its manufacturing lines from producing its own products to making surgical masks. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan announced the initiative early Thursday morning on social media.

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread around the world, healthcare officials are reporting shortages of essential resources, including surgical masks. Tan said Razer intends donate up to 1 million masks to healthcare providers globally; its first shipments will go to healthcare authorities in Singapore, where Razer’s Southeast Asia headquarters is located. The Razer CEO said designers and engineers have been working “24-hour shifts” to convert the company’s production lines.

“While there has been incredible demand for our products during this time with many staying home to avoid the crowds (and to play games), the team at Razer understands that all of us have a part to play in fighting the virus — no matter which industry we come from,” Tan said.

He added that “emergency conversion” of Razer’s manufacturing lines is the first step in the company’s plan. “We are committed to contributing our extra time, resources, effort and talent toward the fight against COVID-19,” Tan said.

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Face masks are considered helpful in stopping the spread of respiratory infections, according to Vox, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend masks for healthy people in the U.S. — just people who are sick or “closely interacting with those who have the disease.” Despite that recommendation, masks have quickly become hard to find in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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