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The world is relying on Big Tech to fight COVID-19 — can they handle it?

As we grip with the realities of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, an unsettling realisation has begun to coalesce: The government needs Silicon Valley.

It’s true. Tech giants are filling voids across the world. In China, Alibaba’s Jack Ma shared purported snaps of one million face masks and 500,000 coronavirus testing kits bound for America, where shortages threaten lives.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also lending a hand. He just organised the delivery of 1,200 ventilators to Californian hospitals, as well as other medical supplies, albeit after awkwardly implying that US states weren’t running low on supplies.

Household names like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook are involved, too. They’re sourcing millions of face masks for the US and Europe.

[Read: Online marketplaces are tanking worldwide – except for Amazon]

Even Lyft, undoubtedly hit hard by coronavirus lockdown measures, is delivering medical supplies  all while Jeff Bezos’ Amazon seeks to support 100,000 unemployed with full and part-time jobs.

Silicon Valley can only do so much against coronavirus

These are moves spurred on by calls for the world’s biggest companies to step in where governments have failed. Current estimates suggest the US needs roughly 3.5 billion face masks to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, so while sorely needed, that few million pledged by Silicon Valley‘s heavyweights will only go so far.

Speaking to these concerns, an influential San Francisco pension fund practically begged the S&P 500 on Monday to mobilize their manufacturing and distribution operations to helping the health sector handle COVID-19 .