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19 Mar, 2020 06:45

Elon Musk’s coronavirus PR stunt goes awry after promising to manufacture ventilators, but only ‘if’ there are shortages

Elon Musk’s coronavirus PR stunt goes awry after promising to manufacture ventilators, but only ‘if’ there are shortages

Elon Musk found himself bombarded with internet rage, after promising to pump out ventilators to treat Covid-19 patients – but only if hospitals needed them. People found this to be a rather ignorant thing to say.

The digital fracas began after Musk signaled that he could use Tesla and SpaceX’s production capabilities to make medical equipment to aid those suffering from the global pandemic. The offer, however, came with a condition: Are there hospitals that currently lack enough ventilators to treat the respiratory illness?

His query enraged social media, with countless blue-checkmarked Twitter accounts expressing disbelief that the billionaire businessman would need to ask such a question.

Georgetown University professor Don Moynihan cited models that America’s critical care bed capacity would soon be overwhelmed by the virus.

“So, all of the hospitals need ventilators. All of them,” he replied to Musk.

Others wondered if Musk had been keeping up-to-date with the news, remarking that it was common knowledge that hospitals across the globe were under incredible strain due to the epidemic.

More cynical takes theorized that Musk was angling for a government contract. Tesla’s competitors, Ford and General Motors, are reportedly already in talks with the Trump administration to “help find solutions” to the health crisis.

The Tesla CEO has been highly critical of the response to Covid-19, claiming that panic over the illness will be far worse than the health crisis that it has sparked. In an email to Tesla employees, he said that he would still be coming to work at the Fremont, California car plant, despite a ‘shelter in place’ order from local authorities.

Musk also has a shaky track record when it comes to using his engineering know-how for seemingly altruistic purposes. He was widely ridiculed for making a mini-sub to help rescue a group of boys and their football coach from a cave in Thailand. The contraption was deemed impractical and was never used.

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