Nomad, typically known for making smartphone accessories, has reprioritized operations and is expanding its manufacturing to make medical supplies like face masks amid the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus, the company has announced.
Right now, Nomad is currently selling disposable three-layer face masks, and you can apply to buy them here. Nomad says it will be prioritize masks first for medical professionals, then for first responders, and then for essential businesses. Its masks cost $0.375 each, and the company estimates that they’ll ship from the company’s Hong Kong warehouse within two to three days.
Nomad’s masks aren’t tight-fitting N95 respirators, but the company says its masks’ filters are “tested at >98% bacterial filtration efficiency, meeting FDA testing standards.” Nomad advises using its masks in “lower contact situations,” until they get FDA approval, which it expects to get in the coming weeks. Nomad says its masks are currently approved in Europe, Taiwan, and China.
“Right now we believe the single best thing we can do is to assist in the distribution of much-needed supplies around the world to aid those on the frontlines of flattening the curve: nurses, doctors, and first responders,” said Nomad co-founders Noah Dentzel and Brian Hahn in a letter.
Nomad told The Verge after the original publication of this article that it’s still making its phone accessories and will continue manufacturing them — making masks is an expansion of the company’s ongoing manufacturing work. However, staff at its California offices have shifted their work where possible to help support the logistics of distributing masks and fielding requests for them.
Many other companies are working to donate or make more medical supplies to help combat shortages. Razer announced last week that it’s using some of its manufacturing lines to make masks. Sharp said on March 1st that it would be making masks at one of its factories in Japan. Ford announced it’s working with 3M and General Electric to make ventilators and masks. Apple has committed to donating “millions” of masks. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would donate its emergency reserve of 720,000 masks and that it is “working on sourcing millions of more to donate.” Director Peyton Reed thanked Tesla CEO Elon Musk for donating “a truckload of PPEs (masks, gowns, etc.)” to UCLA Health.
Update, March 26th, 8:17PM ET: Added context from Nomad to clarify the company is still producing smartphone accessories in addition to face masks. The headline has been updated to reflect this fact.