After referring to the coronavirus outbreak as "dumb," it seems like Elon Musk has realized the severity of the deadly pandemic that has claimed more than 11,000 lives and infected over 275,000 people around the world. The founder of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla announced that his employees will be making ventilators as the death toll continues to rise rapidly in the United States.
Tesla, SpaceX to make ventilators amid shortage
On Friday, Musk replied to a fan on Twitter, saying that Tesla and SpaceX employees have started "working on ventilators" but does not believe they will be needed.
This announcement comes a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a direct plea to Musk on social media asking him to help out amid a shortage of the bedside, computerised machines at hospitals.
As with all respiratory viruses, COVID-19 attacks the lungs and ventilators are vital to provide life support and treat infected patients. One of the biggest problems is the US is currently facing due to the recent onslaught of positive cases across the country and there aren't enough ventilators to go around.
Although hospitals in the country has about 160,000 ventilators and an additional stockpile of 12,700 maintained by the federal government for national emergencies, they won't suffice if the number of serious coronavirus cases continues to climb.
Automakers like General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford have also offered to help mitigate the shortage of the medical equipment, as pointed out by ABC News.
NYC reports more than 1 death every hour
Authorities in New York City are struggling to contain the outbreak at the rate at which it's spreading across the city, claiming more than one life per hour on Friday, as reported by the New York Post. Between 10 am and 6 pm, 14 people died due to COVID-19, taking the city's total death toll to 43. The number of positive cases also jumped by 532 cases on Friday.
Friday's numbers marked the first time that the Big Apple's single-day toll ran into double digits and New York City's Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot warned New Yorkers that he expects the daily death toll count to increase further given the current scenario.
NYC has a total of 5,683 positive cases, out of which Brooklyn has reported the majority with 1,750 followed by 1,514 in Queens, 1,402 in Manhattan, 736 in the Bronx, and 285 in Staten Island.
The surge in number of cases in the city has already led to critical shortages, including hospitals that have run out of ventilator machines and other protective gear such as surgical masks, forcing them to re-use them, as reported by The New York Times.