“Yes, we’re working on ventilators, even though I think they probably won’t be needed,” Musk tweeted on Friday in response to a user asking him if the same engineers and facilities used for Tesla’s Model X and Model S HEPA filters could be used for ventilators.
The announcement comes one day after Musk, who has received criticism for not taking the pandemic seriously enough, said his companies would help make ventilators “if there is a shortage.”
Following that tweet, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted to Musk asking for his assistance, to which Musk said he would connect with the mayor’s team to see what New York City’s ventilator needs are.
On March 18, the World Health Organization noted it was talking to a number of different countries, including China, to ramp up medical supplies, including ventilators, Reuters reported. The news outlet added that General Motors and Ford, two of Musk’s competitors in the automobile industry, were talking with the Trump administration to aid in producing medical equipment.
Separately on March 18, President Donald Trump announced he would invoke the Defense Production Act, one day after being asked if he would.
The Defense Production Act ensures the private sector can ramp-up the manufacturing and distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment.
However, at a March 20 press conference, there was some confusion as to whether Trump had officially asked American manufacturers to produce medical equipment, though Trump did specifically mention General Motors by name.
As of Friday afternoon, there have been more than 263,000 reported cases worldwide of COVID-19, including at least 14,600 in the U.S.