US President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at General Motors and Ford asked them to quickly produce urgently required ventilators, as the US grapples to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. Trump even suggested that he could invoke the Defense Protection Act that will compel companies to make such equipment to fight the deadly coronavirus.
General Motors and Ford had earlier announced that they would be helping other companies in producing ventilators that are the need of the hour to treat coronavirus patients. The US on Friday overtook China for most confirmed coronavirus cases and the numbers seem to be multiplying every hour. At the same time the country too seems to be heading for a shortage in ventilators if cases continue to rise at this rate.
Trump lashes out at General Motors
Trump criticized General Motors and its CEO Mary Barra for their response to producing ventilators to help coronavirus infected patients and demanding "top dollar" for such work. Criticizing General Motors, Trump tweeted that the carmaker had said that it would give 40,000 ventilators but now they would only "be 6,000, in late April, and they want top dollar'.
In a second tweet Trump said that he would be invoking the Defense Production Act, which would force companies to produce such equipment. Trump also attacked General Motors for closing its Ohio factory last year. He tweeted, "General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!"
On Friday, the total number of coronavirus cases in the US crossed 86,000 topping China, while total global cases crossed more than 566,000. More than 25,336 people have died globally, with 1,301 alone in the US due to coronavirus.
Governments urging carmakers to make ventilators
Not only Ford and General Motors, governments are enlisting automakers like Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan and Ferrari also to speed up production of ventilators and other medical equipment that could help gap the shortage and fight the virus. Neither General Motors nor Ford made any immediate comments.
However, General Motors in a statement had said that it is closely working with Ventec Life Systems to help the medical equipment maker to use the carmaker's expertise to make more hospital ventilators. On Friday, Toyota said that it was about to finalize agreements to start working with at least two companies that make ventilators and respirators to help coronavirus patients.
Trumps comments came after a New York Times story that hinted at White House stepping back from announcing a major ventilator deal with General Motors and Ventec Life Systems because the carmaker quoted a huge price. This was widely criticized by the Democrats.