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Musk Goes From Calling Virus Panic Dumb To Saying His Companies Could Make Ventilators

The Tesla CEO’s response comes after GM and Ford said that they could produce hospital ventilators.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk who had previously characterized the coronavirus panic as “dumb” and initially decided against closing one of the company’s plants open in Fremont California, despite a shelter-in-place order, now says his companies could help build hospital ventilators “if there’s a shortage” .

Shortly after Tesla confirmed it will suspend production at its Fremont factory, a number of Twitter users asked Musk if the company will use factory space to manufacture ventilators desperately needed in hospitals across the country.

In one reply to a tweet asking Musk to repurpose the Tesla factory to make ventilators, the businessman wrote: “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage.” In a later tweet, he said making ventilators is not difficult but warned they “cannot be produced instantly.”

Before long New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reached out to Musk directly, asking for the entrepreneur’s help in getting thousands of ventilators to the city over the coming weeks. “Sounds good, we will connect with your team to understand potential needs,” Musk replied.

Talk of Musk potentially helping to build ventilators comes a day after General Motors and Ford said they are studying if they can use excess space at their idled car factories to produce ventilators.

 

GM chief executive Mary Barra spoke with the Trump administration on Wednesday about the possibility.

“She [Barra] also indicated GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators,” a statement from the White House confirmed.

In a statement of its own, Ford said “As America’s largest producer of vehicles and top employer of autoworkers, Ford stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment.”

 

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