Elon Musk hits back at reports that Tesla ventilators were never delivered to hospitals

Elon Musk hits back after CNN claims Tesla's promised ventilators were not delivered to hospitals

The billionaire addressed CNN on Twitter

TESLA CEO Elon Musk has hit back at reports that thousands of ventilators he promised to Californian hospitals have not been delivered.

A spokesperson for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services told CNN yesterday that “the Administration is communicating every day with hospitals across the state about their ventilator supply and to date we have not heard of any hospital system that has received a ventilator directly from Tesla or Musk.”

Musk hit back at CNN on Twitter, replying to the article in characteristically outspoken fashion, “what I find most surprising is that CNN still exists.” He then directly addressed the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, asking him to “please fix this misunderstanding.”

He then posted screenshots of emails between a member of Tesla staff and an official at the LA County Health Services named Phillip Franks, who according to the Services’ website is Director of System Operations and Support Services. In the email exchange, Franks says that “[the ventilators] worked great during testing today” and that the Health Services would “put these into use tomorrow”. The email is dated March 27.

Musk also tweeted an email from the CEO of Mammoth Hospital, a California hospital, which expressed “thanks for the generous gift to our hospital from Mr. Musk and Tesla.” It continued by saying “the ventilators will be quickly deployed in our hospital”.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH), a “private, non-profit, safety-net hospital that serves the 1.35m residents of South LA”, tweeted a photo of the BiPAP non-invasive ventilators that it had received from Tesla, saying: “Thank you for the 20 critically needed medical devices to help fight.”

Towards the end of March, Musk said that he had procured the ventilators as China had more machines than were needed. “China had an oversupply, so we bought 1,255 FDA-approved ResMed, Philips & Medtronic ventilators on Friday night [March 20] & airshipped them to LA.”

The Tesla CEO had received criticism for sending thousands of sleep apnea machines to New York, instead of ventilators. He responded to the criticism by saying that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had requested both invasive and non-invasive devices, and that the machines he had sent were a non-invasive alternative that could keep ventilators available for the “worst case patients”.

New York has been the hardest-hit state in the US, with nearly 11,000 deaths.

Musk’s efforts to procure ventilators for California Hospitals were branded a “heroic effort” by Governor Newsom in a press conference at the end of March. Musk has evidently done a U-turn on his views about coronavirus, after controversially tweeting at the beginning of March that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.”

Similarly to the UK, US car makers have shifted their focus from auto manufacturing to assisting the medical effort. Ford and General Motors (GM) have both been producing ventilators to aid the effort.

The US yesterday saw a single day record increase in Covid-19 deaths. The country has recorded more than 30,000 deaths, with President Donald Trump saying his priority lies with protecting the US economy. Trump has insisted that the virus is past its peak in the US.

Trump was heavily criticised yesterday after halting US funding to the World Health Organisation, which he believes is too closely aligned with China.

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