General Motors, Ford and Tesla have all joined the fight against the coronavirus this week, announcing plans to leverage unused production capacity to manufacture life-saving ventilators. However, the much-needed ventilators may not arrive in time to make much of a difference, with New York governor Andrew Cuomo raising the alarm bells over ventilator supply issues during a Wednesday press conference.
“It does us no good if they start to create a ventilator in three weeks, or four weeks, or five weeks. We’re looking at an apex of 14 days,” Cuomo said, stressing the importance of tackling the coronavirus before the situation gets further out of hand.
According to CNBC, New York currently has about 3,000 to 4,000 ventilators on hand and has purchased 7,000 more from various suppliers. Cuomo estimates the state will need at least 30,000 ventilators within the next two weeks, however, which is when the virus is expected to reach its peak in North America.
Cuomo said the state is also experimenting with using one ventilator for two patients – a clear sign of medical workers’ desperation in New York City and surrounding areas.
“This is a critical and desperate need for ventilators,” he said. “We don’t have any other options. There’s no other way for us to get these ventilators. We’ve tried everything else.”
GM announced earlier this week that it would begin manufacturing Ventec ventilators on behalf of the medical supply company. Ventec CEO Chris Kiple said that GM would enable the company “to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster,” but did not say how many ventilators it could contribute, nor how quickly it could produce them. Ford, for its part, has partnered with 3M and General Electric to produce similar ventilator devices.
GM has suspended production in the United States, Mexico and Canada as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Meanwhile, its Chinese plants slowly started back up after a two-month shutdown that began in January.
Source/photo: CNBC, Wikimedia Commons