Tesla has delivered 50,000 N95 masks and numerous PAPR helmets to Seattle’s UW Medicine, and will deliver 1,200 ventilators by the end of this week to assist efforts to provide proper care for patients infected with Covid-19.
Ventilators and PPE (personal protection equipment) are in short supply all around the globe, and the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the US on Sunday to the third highest in terms of confirmed infections.
Car makers including Tesla, Ford and General Motors have been given a green light by president Trump to provide more.
In the early hours of Monday morning (Australian time), Trump said via Twitter, “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST!”
The need is huge – on Friday former White House advisor for health policy Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Friday told MSNBC that he expects the US alone will need 3.5 billion masks.
Emanuel also said that he had spoken with Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk about how soon the EV maker could assist, and the response was it could take up to 8-10 weeks.
Cleantechnica clarified this statement with Musk who reportedly replied, “We have 250k N95 masks. Aiming to start distributing those to hospitals tomorrow night. Should have over 1000 ventilators by next week.”
One-fifth of those masks – it is unclear if they are from Tesla’s own staff supplies – were delivered to a doctor at UW Medicine, a major healthcare provider in Washington state with more than 30,000 health care workers in 8 facilities.
“For some items we have less than a week’s supply, and we expect a surge of patients to start coming. This donation from Tesla is incredible,” said system manager at UW Medicine James May (tweet since deleted).
Dr. Adams Waldorf, am obstetrics/gynecologist at UW Medicine shared her gratitude to Tesla this morning (Australian time) via Twitter, after the electric car maker dropped boxes containing the masks and helmets to her home garage where they were then loaded onto UW Medicine trucks.
“GRATEFUL TO TESLA for this lightning fast donation,” said Waldorf.
“We are so in need right now.”
A quick photo of 50,000 N95 masks and uncountable PAPR helmets from @Tesla @elonmusk @omead_a for #COVID19 response in my garage before they were loaded into @UWMedicine trucks. GRATEFUL TO TESLA for this lightning fast donation. We are so in need right now. https://t.co/MZJ3jxZExk pic.twitter.com/OJwC5STvJ2
— Dr. Adams Waldorf (@uwdrwaldorf) March 22, 2020
UCSF, which has four medical facilities in San Francisco, has also reached out for more PPE supplies, to which Musk responded mid-Monday (Australian time), “We have a mask shipment stuck at LAX. Hopefully freed up soon.”
Yeah. We have a mask shipment stuck at LAX. Hopefully freed up soon.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2020
In addition to the masks and helmets, CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said via Twitter this morning that he expects Tesla would be able to deliver 1,200 ventilators by the end of this week (March 27, 2020).
Musk had said early on Friday (Australian time) that Tesla was working on ventilators although he was unsure if there would be a shortage by the time Tesla could make enough.
However, the CEO has since entered into talks with Medtronics, a medical device maker headquartered in Fridley, Minnesota.
Just had a long engineering discussion with Medtronic about state-of-the-art ventilators. Very impressive team!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 21, 2020
Medtronics, which had made a statement to the press on Wednesday that it is increasing production of ventilators by more than 40%, confirmed via Twitter that talks were underway.
We are grateful for the discussion with Elon Musk and Tesla as we work across industries to solve problems and get patients and hospitals the tools they need to continue saving lives. We’re all in this together.
Addressing #COVID19 is a group effort. We are grateful for the discussion with @ElonMusk and @Tesla as we work across industries to solve problems and get patients and hospitals the tools they need to continue saving lives. We're all in this together. https://t.co/MdZ3u8k2nR
— Medtronic (@Medtronic) March 21, 2020