Elon Musk Offering To Build Respirators To Treat COVID-19 Patients

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter today that some of his company’s resources could be used to make new ventilators to treat COVID-19 “if there is a shortage.”

Governments and health officials have appealed to manufacturers to help produce the breathing-aid machines for hospitals. They are needed to treat patients with severe symptoms of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but experts warn they are in limited supply.

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Musk responded on social media today after receiving requests urging him to shift his factory production from electric cars to the sought-after medical equipment.

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“We will make ventilators if there is a shortage,” he wrote back, indicating that components used in his company’s electric cars and rockets were similar in design.

“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac [air conditioning] systems,” Musk later said in response to a comment on Twitter made by Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, who noted there is already a shortage.

Musk added: “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?” Many Twitter users quickly pointed out examples of hospitals in urgent need of ventilator equipment.

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Tesla has been contacted for comment.

The Tesla boss has previously played down the global response to the novel coronavirus, which has caused more than 218,000 infections across the world, and over 8,800 deaths. More than 84,000 people have recovered after contracting the disease, according to tracking data.