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Elon Musk & Tesla Offer Ventilators To Any Hospital In Urgent Need, & Deliver Ventilators To NYC

Elon Musk says he has ventilators available and will give them away free to those who need them most desperately.

There is a lot of chatter about ventilators these days. Ventilators are the machines that help people with advanced respiratory infections breathe. It just so happens that a lot more people need them now than needed them a few months or even a few weeks ago, as the COVID-19 virus clobbering countries around the world goes after people’s lungs to a harsh degree.

On March 21, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told CleanTechnica that they would deliver 1,000 ventilators within a week. Last week, he announced he had purchased 1,245 ventilators from China, machines which had been approved by the FDA for use in medical situations. He donated 1,000 of them to hospitals in Los Angeles and sent the rest to New York, where the coronavirus caseload is exploding. Those ventilators have now arrived in LA and New York City, where health officials have expressed their appreciation on Twitter.

There has been a lot of drama about ventilators in the past 10 days, with the alleged president of the United States all but calling General Motors war profiteers and chiding the company for not moving fast enough to get production of ventilators started already. After all, they have had almost 10 days to round up parts from their global network of suppliers. What on Earth could they possibly be waiting for?

Musk Steps Up Again

Today, March 31, Elon took to Twitter again to make a rather startling announcement.

Now you know everything we know. What we don’t know is how many ventilators Musk has available or where he got them from. We also don’t know any more about his proposed working relationship with Medtronic, a major manufacturer of ventilators. Are these more units he found sitting around in a warehouse somewhere? It seems rather unlikely that new ones have been manufactured so quickly, but we just don’t know.

The part about not putting them in storage is interesting. Some hospitals are legitimately expecting the number of infections to skyrocket in the weeks to come and are desperate to have adequate supplies of gloves, masks, and respirators on hand before that happens. Others may be hoarding them. It’s really hard to know who is acting reasonably and who is acting out of pure selfishness and greed.

What we do know is that Musk and Tesla are committed to getting ventilators to the people who need them most, right now, today. It would be enormously helpful if the so-called Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could coordinate the supply of critically needed medical equipment instead of forcing the individual states to compete against each other for scarce supplies.

But that would require leadership from the top, something the person in authority is incapable of providing. Perhaps he should try behaving more like an actual business leader instead of merely playing one on TV.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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