Multi-billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla and SpaceX employees are "working on ventilators" even though he does not believe they will be needed. The confirmation came a day after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a direct plea to Musk to help alleviate a shortage at hospitals gearing up to combat COVID-19.
"We are working on ventilators, even though I think there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter," Musk tweeted on Friday.
It is unclear how many employees are working on the ventilators and which Tesla factory.
Earlier, responding to Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, a tweet from a Musk said the company would make ventilators if there is a shortage.
"Please repurpose your factory to make ventilators which are needed ASAP. I am a Tesla owner and love the company. You have to stop being an idiot about this. This is a massive disaster. Ask the doctors in the field," read a tweet by Abbas that was aimed at Musk.
"Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly," said Musk over Twitter, and further adding, "Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?"
The need for additional ventilators has taken centre stage in the ongoing fight against the spread of coronavirus and the ventilator has become a critical first line of defence for patients infected by the virus.
Worldwide deaths surged past 12,000, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University in the US. More than 299,000 people have been infected, while some 91,500 have recovered.