Elon Musk Says He Procured 1,255 Ventilators from China to Aid in Coronavirus Response
Elon Musk is helping to tackle the shortage of ventilators amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In two tweets on Monday, the SpaceX and Tesla founder, 48, shared that he recently procured 1,225 ventilators from China and had them shipped to the United States to help meet hospital demands and aid in coronavirus relief efforts.
According to Musk, China “had an oversupply, so we bought 1255 FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators on Friday night & airshipped them to LA.”
“If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!” he tweeted, before thanking his Tesla team in China as well as customs for “acting so swiftly” in shipping the medical equipment stateside.
Musk’s tweets came just hours after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference that Musk had followed through on his promise to deliver ventilators to hospitals treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19, calling the act “an heroic effort.”
“Elon Musk: how about this? I told you a few days ago he was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week,” Newsom said. “They arrived in Los Angeles and Elon Musk is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real time.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization has urged countries to “optimize the availability” of ventilators — which assists in breathing functions — as oxygen therapy “is the major treatment intervention for patients with severe Covid-19.”
Musk previously floated the idea of using his Tesla car factory to manufacture ventilators during the coronavirus outbreak, tweeting on Wednesday, “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage.”
When a Twitter user asked how many ventilators he planned on making as “there’s a shortage now,” the tech mogul replied, “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?”
According to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, its been projected that 960,000 coronavirus patients in the U.S. will require the use of a ventilator during the health crisis. However, the organization estimates there are only 200,000 units available nationally.
“The real issue is how to rapidly increase ventilator production when your need exceeds the supply,” Dr. Lewis Kaplan, president of the critical care society, told Associated Press last week. “For that I don’t have a very good answer.”
As of Monday afternoon, there has been at least 39,819 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 458 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
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