Tesla will reopen its factory in Buffalo, New York, and will be reconsidering it for producing the ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 critical patients, Elon Musk said Wednesday.
Tesla’s Fremont, California and Buffalo, New York factories have been completely or partially shut down due to in-place orders, issued by local authorities amid a coronavirus outbreak.
Giga New York will open again for fan production soon. We have to do with our power to help the people of New York.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2020
“Giga New York will open again for ventilator production soon. We can do anything in our power to help the people of New York,” tweeted Musk.
Tesla was recently partnering with Medtronic, a company that makes ventilators, to start building one of their devices, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak said in an interview with CNBC.
Musk had previously said that making blowers in factories was possible, but it could take time. His claims were initially met with skepticism by some experts, but the Medtronic CEO said the company was “fast on track” to start ventilating. He also said Medtronic is looking to partner with other companies to produce ventilators at their facilities as well. This weekend, the FDA relaxed the rules for making blowers, making it easier for companies in other sectors, such as Tesla, to start producing them.
Tesla also purchased 1,255 ventilators from China and delivered them to the city of Los Angeles.
Ventilators are extremely important as they are used in treating critical COVID-19 (the coronavirus-infected) patients. An estimate from the Society of Critical Care Medicine says that 960,000 people could be put on ventilators because of the outbreak, and the US only has about 200,000 of them. Interestingly, in his interview, Ishrak estimated the number to be less, at 60,000.
COVID-19 has so far killed more than 18,500 and infected more than 416,000 people. The outbreak has worsened in the United States in recent weeks, with more than 65,200 confirmed cases and 928 deaths.