General Electric’s healthcare unit said on Thursday it will hire more people and increase the number of shifts as it races to produce ventilators round-the-clock to meet the surge in demand caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Elsewhere, companies such as Apple supplier Foxconn have refitted production lines to make masks and similar items.
Running in the thousands of dollars per unit, ventilators are high-tech versions of the “iron lungs” that kept people alive in the 1950s during fierce polio epidemics.
Hospitals in the United States are preparing for a surge in patients as the outbreak worsens, and a recent government analysis showed the majority of hospitalizations were among people aged between 65 and 84 years.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was invoking a wartime act to speed up production of masks, ventilators and other related equipment.
Other companies including Medtronic have announced similar plans to ramp up production capacity. General Motors and Ford have said they are in talks with White House officials about how they could support the production of medical equipment. Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday offered to make ventilators in case of a shortage in the United States.
MacDailyNews Take: All hands on deck!