Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO who once called panic over the coronavirus outbreak “dumb,” said his company is making ventilators for patients – but doubts there will be a need for them.
“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 replied on Twitter to another user on Thursday.
In a Twitter thread on Monday, Musk discussed the possibility of a drug used to treat malaria as an option for COVID-19 patients replying to a user who said he’s a Tesla owner pleaded with the CEO to repurpose factories to make ventilators.
After Musk was informed ventilator shortages are already happening, he followed up seeking information on affected hospitals.
“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems,” wrote Musk. “SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly.”
Earlier this month, Musk drew attention after questioning the reaction to the spread of coronavirus. “The coronavirus panic is dumb,” Musk wrote on March 6. Five days later, the World Health Organization declared the spread of COVID-19 had become a pandemic.
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed News reported Musk had sent an email to SpaceX employees saying they’re more likely to die from a car crash than the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, the auto maker’s factory in Fremont, California, was declared a “nonessential business” after Alameda County enacted a shelter-in-place order, which could have led to a complete shutdown. NBC Bay Area reports the factory will remain open with a smaller workforce for “minimum basic operations.”
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.