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Nintendo donated 9,500 masks to local coronavirus relief efforts

N95 masks are in short supply worldwide

Animal Crossing character standing in a very cool room wearing a surgical mask Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon
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.

Nintendo of America has donated more than 9,500 N95 respirator masks to coronavirus relief efforts in the state of Washington.

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, continues to spread globally, masks are in short supply. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are unable to properly protect themselves from the disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is suggesting homemade solutions like bandanas or scarves “as a last resort” for those unable to wear a mask due to the shortage. Communities are also reaching out to the public for help, taking donations from wherever available.

Nintendo representative Jerry Danson said in a statement that the company purchased its masks for “emergency preparedness planning,” according to a news release from the city of North Bend, Washington.

Nintendo donated the masks to Eastside Fire & Rescue, located in Issaquah, Washington, which will distribute the masks “throughout the region to address immediate needs, including the city of North Bend,” the city said.

North Bend is home to a Nintendo of America distribution center, which is not far from its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Washington state was one of the first epicenters for the U.S. coronavirus outbreak. Multiple residents and staff of a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, contracted the virus in February. Since then, more than 120 people have died from COVID-19 in Washington alone.

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