Ten days ago, UK prime minister Boris Johnson phoned James Dyson, whose company is famous for making vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, and asked him if he could help with the shortage of medical ventilators needed to address the coronavirus crisis. If so, the UK would like 10,000 of them ASAP, please. Dyson said he would see what he could do.
According to CNN, Dyson and his staff have designed a completely new ventilator especially suited to the needs of COVID-19 sufferers and will have the first of them available in early April. “A ventilator supports a patient who is no longer able to maintain their own airways, but sadly there is currently a significant shortage, both in the UK and other countries around the world,” Dyson wrote in a company wide email.
The new product will be called the CoVent and “can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume,” Dyson said. “The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time. The race is now on to get it into production.” The UK government has not yet approved the design, but is expected to do so shortly.
The CoVent is a bed-mounted and portable ventilator, with the option to run on battery power should the need arise, according to The Verge. In addition to the 10,000 units promised to the UK, Dyson says he will donate another 5,000 ventilators to the international community.
Meanwhile, The US Moves Backwards
When the UK government needed help, it contacted an expert and is getting results. When the US government needed help, it turned to a presidential son-in-law/slumlord with no expertise in anything except stroking the easily bruised ego of his mentor. Not surprisingly, the results have been dramatically different.
According to The New York Times, a deal was in place for General Motors to reconfigure a factory in Kokomo, Indiana, where it would manufacture 80,000 desperately needed ventilators for hospitals in the United States. The terms called for an up-front payment of several hundred thousand dollars and a total price tag of $1 billion.
Everybody was all smiles about what GM calls Project V until the phone rang at FEMA headquarters. Now the project is in limbo while the government reassesses its options. A number of proposals from several manufacturers have been submitted and, of course, the government wants to make sure it is making the right choices in this time of urgent need. A billion dollars to keep people from dying? Let’s take a moment to think this through, lads.
The Times says, “At the center of the discussion about how to ramp up the production of ventilators is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House aide, who has told people that he was called in two weeks ago by Vice President Mike Pence to produce more coronavirus test kits and who has now turned his attention to ventilators. He has been directing officials at FEMA in the effort.”
Oh, joy. Decisions that could affect the health of hundreds of thousands being handled by a clueless buffoon who owes his authority to a strutting jackass. What could possibly go wrong?
The effort to fulfill the need for more ventilators for the US now involves Tesla, Ford, General Motors, and a host of other companies, all with competing competencies and interests. But America, in its quest to regain its status as a great nation, has placed its fate in the hands of people with no government experience while giving those who know what they are talking about the cold shoulder because they are agents of the so-called “deep state.” This is not likely to end well.
President Trump has waded into the ventilator situation with a series of fiery tweets. According to The Washington Post, the petulant two-year-old masquerading as the leader of the free world has taken to Twitter to castigate Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, after a deal for her company to begin making ventilators came unstuck.
“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump tweeted. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B.”
Later he tweeted, “Invoke P,” then added “Invoke ‘P’ means Defense Production Act!”
He followed that up with this bombastic threat. “General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!” FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!
Apparently Trump was asleep at the Wharton School of Business when the topic was effective communication for business executives. There’s nothing like taunting your adversaries to get what you want. It’s a scientific fact!