President Trump on Friday invoked the Defense Production Act asking General Motors company to begin making medical ventilators, needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too great to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," Trump said in a statement. With more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus infections, the most in the world, and nearly 1,700 fatalities, the U.S. medical system needs hundreds of thousands of breathing machines in a short time. New York, Michigan, Louisiana and the state of Washington have been nominated as virus hot spots in the U.S. right now.
In a statement, GM said it has been "working around the clock for over a week" with medical device company Ventec Life Systems and parts suppliers to build more ventilators. Ventec ventilators, which are portable and can handle intensive care patients, cost about $18,000 each. However, the hospitals are using now ventilators that can cost up to $50,000. On American administration request, Ford will also make ventilators too.