HERNDON, Virginia — As of January 2021, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 90 million people across the world. Nearly two million people have lost their lives. The quick and continuous spread of COVID-19 has crippled and closed many businesses across the world. This has resulted in a loss of employment and income. With hospitals hosting a nearly unmanageable population of patients, available resources have been declining. In order to help combat these challenges, the United Parcel Service (UPS) fights against COVID-19.
The United Parcel Service
With the recent release of coronavirus vaccines, the need for global distribution and transportation has been crucial in the effort to relieve some of the burdens of the virus. UPS, one of the world’s top courier companies, has played a large role in the transportation of crucial supplies and vaccines in the midst of such a trying time. In being just a small part of the solution, UPS fights COVID-19 in numerous efficient and productive ways.
At the most basic level, as UPS continues to serve its customers, it takes extra precautions to protect its employees. This protects consumers as well. With strict regulations to follow CDC guidelines and implementation of an emergency paid leave program for employees, UPS prioritizes health and safety for its workers and customers.
UPS’s Humanitarian Aid
Jim Casey, the founder of UPS, continued his mission of building and helping different communities by founding the UPS Foundation in 1951. During COVID-19’s early stages in January 2020, the UPS Foundation announced efforts to provide free air transportation for respirator masks, protective suits and nitrile gloves to Wuhan, China. As a member of the Pandemic Supply Chain Network (PSCN), the foundation has invested funds and services to support humanitarian aid. Though COVID-19 has certainly disrupted many global supply chains with restrictions and shortages, UPS continues to fulfill its commitments.
UPS has been actively combatting COVID-19 not only in China but in Italy as well. In May 2020, the UPS Foundation gave a $50,000 grant to Pope John XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Italy. The hospital that was once located in an epicenter of the pandemic was struggling with a lack of sufficient resources and more than 100 intubated patients in the intensive care unit.
As the primary healthcare provider in Bergamo, the hospital was surely in need of extra support and supplies. As timing is a major factor in the pandemic, UPS fights COVID-19 with urgency and swiftness. With the grant from the UPS Foundation, the hospital was able to purchase new ventilators, equipment, masks and medical gowns. With these supplies, it could further its mission to fight against the pandemic.
Test and Vaccine Distribution
Before the release of the vaccine, UPS partnered with a global provider of sample preparation technologies and molecular diagnostics called QIAGEN. Its goal was to produce and transport COVID-19 testing kits in Europe. UPS’s efforts resulted in an increase in the number of kits reaching hospitals and labs around the world. UPS partnered with various companies during the pandemic to respond quickly and with flexibility to the virus.
After Pfizer’s COVID vaccine was approved in December 2020, UPS announced its commitment to distribute the vaccine. Before FDA approval of the vaccine, UPS had already begun to work on building portable freezer units and producing dry ice in order to safely and efficiently transport larger doses. To ensure quick and sound transportation, UPS plans to use a GPS system to keep track of packages carrying the vaccine. The data taken from these systems will stream directly to UPS-operated command centers and Operation Warp Speed (OPS). The U.S. government initiated this partnership between public and private entities and will assist in expedited delivery and manufacturing of supplies related to COVID-19.
The Continuing Fight Against COVID-19
UPS fights COVID-19 on a much larger scale than people may think or see. Since January, the UPS Foundation has invested more than $21 million in funding to help global communities combat the pandemic. People around the world have benefited greatly from the investments that UPS has put into the fight. UPS continues to work with transportation for the vaccine and supplies, nonprofits that help surrounding communities and building a support network that will be needed in the eventual recovery and healing phases. The company has been devoted to helping the world get through the coronavirus pandemic and will hopefully continue to do so until the very end.
– Grace Wang