Musk said the technology components produced at his Tesla and SpaceX factories were “sophisticated” and that the fans “weren't difficult” by comparison.
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This story originally appeared on Business Insider
Elon Musk , CEO of Tesla and SpaceX , said on Twitter that their factories would be reused to produce fans if there were a shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Musk made the promise in response to a tweet on Wednesday night.
“Reuse your factory to make fans as needed as soon as possible,” wrote user Raja Abbas. “I own a Tesla and love the company. You have to stop being an idiot for this. This is a massive disaster. Ask the doctors in the field.”
“We will be fans if there is a shortage,” Musk replied .
Image: Raja Abbas via Twitter
FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver challenged Musk in a claim in another tweet , saying, “Now there's a shortage, how many fans are you doing @elonmusk?”
Musk responded by saying that the technology components produced at his Tesla and SpaceX factories were “sophisticated” and that the fans “weren't that difficult” by comparison.
“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated climate control systems,” Musk said in a follow-up tweet. “SpaceX manufactures spaceships with life support systems. Fans are not difficult, but they cannot be produced instantly. Which hospitals have the shortage you are talking about?”
Experts have warned that the United States faces a shortage of critical supplies in the coming months as the new coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread. As of Wednesday night, the United States had reported more than 9,400 coronavirus cases and more than 150 deaths.
Ventilators are key in the treatment of a respiratory disease such as that caused by COVID-19. A February report from the Center for Health Safety at Johns Hopkins found that the United States had about 170,000 ventilators (160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals along with about 8,900 in a national reserve).
One expert estimated that about a million Americans may need fan treatment during the coronavirus outbreak, depleting the country's resources even if all of those cases do not overlap. The shortage of other medical equipment, such as masks , has already begun to affect American hospitals.
A recent federal plan, seen by The New York Times , to deal with the coronavirus warned that the pandemic “will last 18 months or more” and could include “multiple waves” as it spreads. “A shortage of products may occur that affects medical care, emergency services and other elements of critical infrastructure,” the plan reports.
Several other automakers, including General Motors and Ford, have said they are talking to the White House about how they could help produce fans if called to action.
“As the largest vehicle producer in the United States and the leading employer of auto workers, Ford is ready to assist the administration in any way we can, including the ability to produce fans and other equipment,” said Ford's chief communications officer. Mark Truby, in a statement, according to The Detroit News .
“GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support the production of medical equipment as ventilators,” said a GM spokeswoman, Jeannine Ginivan, in a statement. statement.