- California has received 1,000 ventilators provided by Elon Musk to help hospitals treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday.
- “They’ve arrived in Los Angeles… It was a heroic effort,” Newsom said.
- Musk has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, but said last week that his factories would produce ventilators, “if there’s a shortage.”
- Experts have warned the US could be in desperate need of ventilators in the months ahead, and other American automakers have already announced they would help produce the devices.
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Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has followed through on his promise to deliver 1,000 ventilators to help California hospitals treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference Monday.
“I told you a few days ago that [Musk] was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week,” Newsom said, adding: “They’ve arrived in Los Angeles… It was a heroic effort.”
Last week, after Newsom said he had spoken with a “well-known entrepreneur” about ventilators, Musk hinted that plans for production were already underway at Tesla factories, tweeting: “We’re working on ventilators, even though I think there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter.”
Musk has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, calling the panic surrounding it “dumb” and falsely claiming that children are “essentially immune” to the virus, despite evidence to the contrary. Musk also initially hedged his promise about producing ventilators just minutes after making it, speculating that there wouldn’t be a shortage after all — also flying in the face of experts’ predictions.
A February report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins estimated the US has about 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals, with another 8,900 held in a national reserve. But one expert warned that, as the virus continues to spread across the US, one million Americans could need the life-saving devices.
In response to that potential shortage, General Motors and Ford have both said they will help produce ventilators as various sectors of the US economy reconfigure themselves to help meet the surging demand for medical supplies.