To date, the World Health Organization has identified more than 118,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. And companies across the country (and undoubtedly, the world) are identifying ways to help stop the spread.
Here’s how brands big and small are responding to this global health epidemic:
- Facebook – To promote timely access to accurate information, Facebook is letting the World Health Organization advertise for free. In the announcement shared by Mark Zuckerberg, he said, “We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support. We’ll also give support and millions more in ad credits to other organizations too and we’ll be working closely with global health experts to provide additional help if needed.” In addition, they’re banning ads that promise a cure for the coronavirus.
- Lyft – The rideshare giant wants both drivers and riders to keep their hands clean, and they’re driving that point home. Case in point: Lyft is distributing more than 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, at no cost to their employees.
- Starbucks – Since 1985, Starbucks has worked to reduce the use of paper cups. For example, when customers bring their own mugs, the company rewards them with special savings. However, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Starbucks is suspending the program, while honoring the discount. Environmentally conscious coffee lovers can still bring their refillable cup (even though they can’t use it), in order to enjoy a 10-cent discount.
- Michigan State University – As of noon on March 11, MSU has suspended all in-person classes — moving coursework to virtual instruction. While this suspension will last until April 20, the university will remain open. In fact, according to a letter from President Samuel L. Stanley, they will continue to fully support students in residence halls and dining facilities. (Note: Several other schools have followed suit.)
- Amazon – As fear of the coronavirus soars, Amazon has decided they won’t stand for merchants trying to make a quick profit. The online marketplace has removed one million products claiming to cure coronavirus, while also removing thousands of listings from sellers who were price gouging.
- HAP – As a Michigan-based insurance plan, HAP understands the importance of affordable and accessible health care. That’s why they’re waiving all copays and deductibles for COVID-19 tests. If a physician determines someone is demonstrating specific symptoms (as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services), testing is available at no cost to them.