Elon Musk says Tesla could make ventilators to battle COVID-19

Elon Musk says Telsa and SpaceX are ready to help make ventilators, as countries continue to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.

There have been reports of massive shortages of ventilators in many countries around the world including the US and the UK. Ventilators deliver respiratory assistance to those who are being treated for COVID-19.

In response to a plea on Twitter last week about the growing shortage of ventilators, Tesla CEO Elon Musk assured the community that the company would step up if needed.

This drew the Twitter-verse’s attention to the Tesla CEO, with others even asking him how many of the devices his companies can make.

“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated HVAC systems. 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?” Musk replied.

Government officials to take Musk’s offer

It did not take much time before a government official went to social media and express their interest in Musk’s offer.

“New York City is buying!” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.

“Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators ASAP — we will need thousands in this city over the next few weeks. We’re getting them as fast as we can but we could use your help!” he added.

The mayor’s team is reportedly already in touch with Musk about the offer.

COVID-19 outbreak in the United States
COVID-19 outbreak in the United States (Johns Hopkins University of Medicine)

New York City among hardest-hit cities

As of this morning, there have been more than 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, with the United States accounting for more than 10% of those cases. Only Italy and China have more confirmed cases.

Nearly half of the U.S. cases (15,168) are in New York state, and of those, more than 10,000 are in the New York City area, which is home to more than 8.6 million people.

“We are not ready for it, certainly today. The picture looks like you have tens of thousands of people coming to the hospital,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview.

“The entire world is trying to buy ventilators,” Cuomo added.

In the UK alone, there are fewer than 6,000 ventilators accessible from the country’s National Health Service. The UK government is already getting in touch with companies like Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and Jaguar Land Rover to ask how they can help fill the gap in the impending shortage.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stressed to all countries the importance of “optimizing the availability” of medical oxygen systems. This is because ventilators are indispensable in providing “critical care interventions” for those who are being treated especially those who are already critically ill.

If it happens, Tesla’s offer of help could very well be an example and hopefully, other companies could follow suit.

Featured images courtesy of Flickr / JD Lasica, Wikimedia Commons, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine

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