Ford announced Monday that it will be able to start produce ventilators by the end of April, as governors make clear they desperately need the life-saving machines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The automobile giant said it would be able to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of next months, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4.
The move will add significantly to the nation’s supply of the machines that allow seriously ill coronavirus patients to breathe.
However, some states that are hard hit by the virus say that they need thousands more ventilators right away. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) says New Orleans could run out of ventilators as soon as this week. And New York says it needs thousands more before the peak of the virus is expected to hit in mid-April.
Ford is working with GE Healthcare and Airon Corp. to make the ventilators.
General Motors is also moving to start making ventilators after President Trump used the typically wartime Defense Production Act to compel them to do so.
“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams, working creatively and tirelessly, have found a way to produce this vitally needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO. “By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the [United Auto Workers union], we can help health care workers save lives, and that’s our No. 1 priority.”
White House adviser Peter Navarro, who has been heading up the manufacturing effort, added in a statement: “Just as Ford in the last century moved its manufacturing might seamlessly from auto to tank production during World War II, the Ford team is working with GE Healthcare to use its awesome engineering and manufacturing capabilities to voluntarily help this nation solve one of its most pressing problems.”
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