Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet on Monday that he sourced 1,255 ventilators and shipped them to Los Angeles, as hospitals and medical facilities around the US face shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference on Monday that Musk has delivered 1,000 ventilators to help California hospitals treat patients infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Monday evening, California had 2,203 confirmed coronavirus cases and 43 deaths.
“I told you a few days ago that [Musk] was likely to have 1,000 ventilators this week,” Newsom said. “They’ve arrived in Los Angeles… It was a heroic effort.”
Scott Wapner, host of CNBC’s Halftime Report, posted news of Newsom’s announcement on Twitter.
“California Gov Newsom says @elonmusk delivered 1,000 ventilators to the state today. Just Wow,” Wapner tweeted.
Musk responded, saying that he did, in fact, buy 1,255 ventilators from China because they “had an oversupply.”
“If you want a free ventilator installed, please let us know!” he wrote.
“Thanks Tesla China team, China Customs Authority & LAX customs for acting so swiftly,” he added in a follow-up reply.
Musk has recently discussed the possibility of producing ventilators in his Tesla factory on Twitter in the event of a shortage.
“We’re working on ventilators, even though I think there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter,” Musk wrote on Thursday.
Experts have warned that America faces a shortage of critical supplies in the months ahead as the number of cases continues to grow.
Ventilators are key in treating a respiratory illness like COVID-19. A February report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins found that the US had about 170,000 ventilators, with 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals along with about 8,900 held in a national reserve.
One expert estimated that about 1 million Americans may need ventilator treatment during the coronavirus outbreak, straining the country’s resources even if all those cases do not overlap. Shortages of other medical gear like masks have already started to affect US hospitals.