Elon Musk has donated more than 1,000 ventilators to hospitals in Los Angeles, California to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The billionaire CEO of Tesla (TSLA) said in a tweet that he helped acquire 1,255 of the life-saving machines from China last week and arranged them to flown to Los Angeles.
Yup, China had an oversupply, so we bought 1255 FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators on Friday night & airshipped them to LA. If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2020
Governor of California Gavin Newsom said at a press conference that the donation was a “heroic effort.”
"I told you a few days ago that he was likely to have a thousand ventilators this week,” he said. “They arrived in Los Angeles and [Musk] is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real time. It's a heroic effort."
In March, Musk posted a tweet saying: “The coronavirus panic is dumb.”
The coronavirus panic is dumb
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2020
But two weeks later, the entrepreneur also said on Twitter that his company “will make ventilators if there is a shortage” and said he has repurposed a Tesla factory to produce the much-needed breathing aids.
“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly,” he tweeted last Thursday.
We will make ventilators if there is a shortage
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 19, 2020
Medical technology company Medtronic tweeted: “Addressing #COVID19 is a group effort. We are grateful for the discussion with @ElonMusk and @Tesla as we work across industries to solve problems and get patients and hospitals the tools they need to continue saving lives. We're all in this together.”
Musk’s fortune has been hit by coronavirus pandemic. His net worth surged to about £38bn ($45bn) in February, but has dropped to £23bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.
There are 31,573 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US and 402 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest situation report.
A WHO spokesperson said on Tuesday 85% of coronavirus cases reported over the past 24 hours have been in Europe and the United States.
UK manufacturers such as Vauxhall and Airbus (AIR.PA) are also planning to repurpose their factories and utilise 3D-printing technology to create parts for ventilators to treat coronavirus patients.