Tesla and SpaceX will manufacture ventilators to help hospitals experiencing an equipment shortage due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city was reaching out to the two companies' co-founder, Elon Musk, directly after Musk noted that Tesla and SpaceX have much of the infrastructure required to produce the life-saving equipment.
Musk has been publicly contemplating the implications of COVID-19 panic via Twitter. He recently wondered whether over-allocating medical resources to fight the virus would come at the expense of treating other illnesses.
But as his replied were flooded Wednesday with people pleading with him to not diminish the severity of the pandemic, he changed course.
"Tesla makes cars with sophisticated HVAC systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems," Musk noted. "Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly. Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?"
FiveThirtyEight co-founder Nate Silver applauded Musk's reaction, noting that "NYC and Seattle hospitals are in acute danger." Silver urged hospitals experiencing ventilator shortages to contact Musk and himself.
De Blasio responded that "New York City is buying!" the devices.
"Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators ASAP — we will need thousands in this city over the next few weeks," he continued. "We're getting them as fast as we can but we could use your help! We're reaching out to you directly."
Health officials in New York have cautioned for some time now that the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak is likely still over 40 days away.
State officials believe that with proper federal aid New York will have enough hospital beds to manage the peak of the virus's progression in the state, but nowhere near enough ventilators.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed concern that not enough ventilators are being produced to meet the abrupt increase in worldwide demand.
Officials are seeing significant daily increases in the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States. By Wednesday night, there were over 7,500 confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 110 deaths.
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