Coronavirus ventilators: Elon Musk pledges to hand out 1,200 life-support devices for free

The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 420,000 people since November, leaving many unable to breathe without life support machinery. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attacks the respiratory system and triggers a range of symptoms that can be lethal if untreated.

SpaceX and Tesla chief Elon Musk, 48, has vowed to join the fight against coronavirus.

The South African billionaire and tech mogul announced on Wednesday, March 18, his two companies will manufacture ventilators to bolster hospitals overrun with coronavirus patients.

On Saturday, March 21, Mr Musk said he has been in talks with Medtronic, a medical device company headquartered in Ireland.

He tweeted: “Just had a long engineering discussion with Medtronic about state-of-the-art ventilators. Very impressive team!”


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In another tweet, he confirmed his SpaceX is already working on the ventilators.

On Sunday, Mr Musk said he is also expecting to distribute about 1,200 ventilators bought from China.

He tweeted: “We expect to have over ~1200 to distribute this week. Getting them delivered, installed and operating is the hardest part.”

The ventilators were shipped to the US from surplus stock.

Mr Musk then took to Twitter on Tuesday, March 24, offering to install the “free ventilators”.

He tweeted: “Yup, China had an oversupply, so we bought 1255 FDA-approved ResMed, Phillips and Medtronic ventilators on Friday night and air-shipped them to La.

“If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!”

If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know

Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO

California Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed on Monday the SpaceX chief has already begun to distribute the ventilators to hospitals across the state.

The Governor praised the “heroic effort” of Mr Musk and his team.

He said: “Elon Musk: how about this? I told you a few days ago he was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week.”

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He added: “They arrived in Los Angeles and Elon Musk is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real-time. It’s a heroic effort.”

But Mr Musk’s charitable effort does not end there.

He has similarly vowed to gift hospitals N95 breathing masks and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The efforts come after Mr Musk showed some scepticism towards the coronavirus panic.

He tweeted on March 19: “Exactly. My guess is that the panic will cause more harm than the virus, if that hasn’t happened already.”

Before that, he said the “coronavirus panic is dumb”.

What is the coronavirus and COVID-19?

The SARS-CoV-2 pathogen is a novel strain of the coronavirus family that has never been seen in humans before.

The virus first appeared in China last November but has since spread to every corner of the world.

The coronavirus infects the respiratory system with flu-like symptoms and pneumonia.

Although most patients will experience mild symptoms, a handful of cases will develop more critical conditions that will require urgent care and treatment.

Those most at risk from the virus are people in elderly age groups, pregnant women and people with underlying health problems.

Do you have any questions about the coronavirus, self-isolating or the Government lockdown?

Get in touch with us and will ask an expert to find the answers for you. Email your question to [email protected]

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