- Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk pledged on Twitter to repurpose his factories in order to produce ventilators if the US faces a shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- One user challenged Musk’s claims, saying that “there’s a shortage now.”
- Musk said that the tech components produced at his Tesla and SpaceX factories are “sophisticated” stating that ventilators are “not difficult” in comparison.
- Experts have warned that America may face a shortage of critical supplies like ventilators in the months ahead.
- Several other US automakers, including General Motors and Ford, have stated that they are talking to the White House about how they could help produce ventilators if called to action.
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Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter that his factories will be repurposed to produce ventilators if there is a shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Musk made the pledge in response to a tweet on Wednesday evening.
“Please repurpose your factory to make ventilators which are needed ASAP,” user Raja Abbas wrote. “I am a Tesla owner and love the company. You have to stop being an idiot about this. This is a massive disaster. Ask the doctors in the field.”
“We will make ventilators if there is a shortage,” Musk responded.
FiveThirtyEight editor in chief Nate Silver challenged Musk on his claim in another tweet, saying: “There’s a shortage now, how many ventilators you making @elonmusk?”
Musk responded saying that the tech components produced at his Tesla and SpaceX factories are “sophisticated” stating that ventilators are “not difficult” in comparison.
“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated HVAC systems,” Musk said in a follow-up tweet. “SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly. Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?”
Experts have warned that America may face a shortage of critical supplies in the months ahead as the coronavirus, which causes a disease called COVID-19, continues to spread. As of Wednesday evening, the US has reported over 9,400 coronavirus cases and over 150 deaths.
Ventilators are key in treating a respiratory illness like COVID-19. A February report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins revealed that the US has about 170,000 ventilators, with 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals along with about 8,900 held in a national reserve.
One expert predicted that about 1 million Americans may need ventilator treatment during the coronavirus outbreak, straining the countries current resources. Shortages of other medical gear like masks have already started to impact US hospitals.
And a recent federal plan, seen by The New York Times, to tackle the coronavirus warned that the pandemic “will last 18 months or longer” and could include “multiple waves” as it spreads. “Shortages of products may occur, impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure,” the plan reportedly said.
Several other US automakers, including General Motors and Ford, have stated that they are talking to the White House about how they could help produce ventilators if called to action.
“As America’s largest producer of vehicles and top employer of autoworkers, Ford stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment,” Ford’s chief communications officer Mark Truby said in a statement, according to The Detroit News.
“GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support the production of medical equipment like ventilators,” GM spokesman Jeannine Ginivan said in a statement.