The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world, specifically the United States, by storm. The US is now the leading runner in the number of cases of the virus recorded. Seeing as the whole world is falling short of ventilators because of this virus, and that Tesla’s Gigafactories have been shut down in the spirit of social distancing, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has announced that Tesla’s New York Gigafactory will reopen for the production of ventilators.
He first announced this over twitter this past Wednesday after his previous announcement to either donate ventilator or work towards producing more of them. Ventilators are in short supply as COVID-19 is essentially a respiratory condition caused by the Coronavirus. The Ventilators are what help the patients breathe.
In a country where 116,326 cases have been confirmed as of today (the 28th of March, 2020), there are an estimate of 160,000 ventilators, with another 12,700 in reserve. The rate of cases recorded each day predicts that the number of cases will precede the number of ventilators in the country very soon.
Mr Musk has said that the portion of its factory dedicated to the production to solar panels is the portion which will be converted. In his statement he said the factory would be up and ready for production, “as soon as humanly possible.”
This production, although not explicitly mentioned by Mr Musk, could be in collaboration with Medtronic, a medical device company responsible for providing most of the heavy medical devices used in the US. In an interview, on Wednesday, the CEO of Medtronic, Mr Omar Ishrak mentioned that they planned on open-sourcing one of their lower-end ventilators in an attempt to produce as many as possible. He also mentioned that his company planned on working with other production companies such as Tesla to help increase the ventilator production yield.