U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sunday that Ford, GM and Tesla have been “authorized” to produce ventilators to alleviate shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic, ending with challenges to auto executives to show their company’s state,media reported.
Respirators are an important medical device for the treatment of COVID-19 hospitalized patients. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. And since there is no clinically proven treatment, a ventilator is needed to help people breathe and fight disease. According to the New York Times, there are about 160,000 ventilators in the United States and 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply Service.
The tweet came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to nationalize health-care purchases on Sunday morning, rather than hand them over to states. A growing number of U.S. officials are calling on Mr. Trump to order companies to produce medical supplies under the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to force private companies to produce materials needed for defense.
Without nationalisation, Mr Cuomo said, states would compete for supply. The result could be a surge in prices, putting more pressure on the health care system. Mr. Trump has issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act, but it is unclear whether it has been used. Mr. Trump said at a news conference last week that it was true, but Peter Gaynor, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters Sunday that the president has not ordered any companies to provide more important items.
Several carmakers said last week that they were studying the feasibility of producing ventilators. GM said Friday that it is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products, such as ventilators. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the United States, more and more hospitals are needing this product. The partnership is part of StopTheSpread.org, a concerted effort by private companies to address the disease COVId-19 caused by the new coronavirus.
Ford told TechCrunch in an email Sunday that it stands ready to help the government, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment. “We have had preliminary discussions with the US and UK governments and discussed the feasibility,” said Rachel McLeary, a Ford spokeswoman. It is vital that all of us work together to help the country through this crisis and to be stronger than ever. “
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Saturday that he had discussed producing ventilators with Medtronic. Medtronic later confirmed the conversations in a tweet. Musk has previously tweeted that SpaceX and Tesla are developing ventilators, but did not provide details.