COVID-19: Tesla to produce ventilators to curb COVID-19 spread

Marco Green
March 26, 2020

Elon Musk is preparing to reopen Tesla's NY gigafactory for ventilator production "as soon as humanly possible" as the spiralling number of coronavirus cases in the city risks a shortage of the critical medical gear.

Musk, who announced the move on Twitter, said that his staff would "do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York" during the outbreak of novel coronavirus that has resulted in a "pause" of all non-essential services.

Musk's remarks came in response to a clip of a CNBC interview with Omar Ishrak, CEO of medical device specialist outfit Medtronic. "I encourage all New Yorkers to continue to stay home to help stop the spread".

Elon Musk has previously been skeptical about the need to ramp up production of the critical medical gear, claiming just last week that he would "make ventilators if there is a shortage".

'We are talking to the federal government about more ventilators, we're shopping for ventilators ourselves, we're splitting ventilators, and we're converting anaesthesia ventilators, ' said Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said NY state will see the "apex" of the COVID-19 pandemic within 2-3 weeks, and expects NYC hospitals will be soon overwhelmed with cases. Cuomo said on Tuesday.

'We have maybe about 12,000 in that range of ventilators before talking about splitting and anaesthesia ventilators, ' he said.

"Equipment and PPE is an ongoing issue. One of our ventilators will be made by them and they are fast on track", Ishrak said.

Earlier this week, it was reported the state had about 3,000 to 4,000 ventilators on hand. An estimate from the Society of Critical Care Medicine said that 960,000 people may need to be put on ventilators due to the outbreak, and the US only has about 200,000 of them.

Some patients are staying on ventilators for a long time for around 11-21 days, the governor explained, which means the supply can not be passed around as quickly. Gov. Cuomo said that 7,000 more ventilators had been procured and the government had sent about 400, but it was not enough.

NY now has enough PPE for NY hospitals for the time being, Cuomo said, after he had previously urged any businesses that could to ramp up production on face masks.

NY has more cases of the illness than any other U.S. state and accounts for almost half of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The severity of the outbreak has stoked fears among local leaders than New York's hospitals will run out of key supplies, such as ventilators, face masks and hospital beds.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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