NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Now Giving Away Ventilators

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Wednesday at a press conference that he would start giving away ventilators to other states during the coronavirus crisis. “We’ve stabilized our healthcare situation. New York had one of the earlier curves. There are other places in this country that are now seeing increases in the death rate,” Cuomo said, explaining why he was ready to donate ventilators. Cuomo announced he would send 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 ventilators to Maryland. Cuomo spent weeks spreading the alarm that there might not be enough ventilators for New York, demanding that the federal government provide him 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators for his stockpile. “You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die,” Cuomo said in a press conference in March, in a strong message to President Donald Trump and the federal government. Trump was widely criticized for challenging the numbers in March, asserting in an interview that Cuomo probably did not need that many ventilators. “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he said in an interview with Sean Hannity. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.” Recent Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) models showed that New York would need less than 6,000 ventilators even at the peak of the coronavirus infection. The net change in intubations in New York is now falling at a steady rate. The federal government sent 4,000 ventilators to New York, but Cuomo still acquired another 1,000 ventilators from China and even deployed the National Guard to seize and redistribute ventilators in his state. The governor said Wednesday that he was grateful for other states donating ventilators to his state but that he was ready to return the favor. “I said at the time, New Yorkers are generous, and they are grateful and gracious, and when you need help, we will be there for you,” he said.

Well, that’s might big of ya’, Governor….since you didn’t need them in the first place (even though you whined that ya did), and you got that excess from the federal government courtesy of Trump; in other words…the rest of us.  So, um..  YOU’RE welcome.  What an arrogant tool..

Ford VP on collaborative effort to ramp up ventilator production: Goal is 60 per hour

Ford Motors’ partnership with General Electric (GE) and Airon Corp. to build 50,000 new ventilators in the fight against coronavirus is in service to first responders and their patients, Vice President of Enterprise Product Line Management Jim Baumbick said Tuesday. Appearing on “America’s Newsroom,” Baumbick said that Ford’s announcement to build the new ventilators in just 100 days — half of the time it normally takes — was following the footprints of company history. “Well, there is a very famous statement at Ford and it’s ‘Go Like Hell,'” he explained. “We see an incredible need for getting medical devices and personal protection equipment into the hands of patients and first responders that need it the most of help fight this war. So, everybody at Ford is absolutely committed to doing whatever we can to help out.” Baumbick said that the auto company’s partnership with GE health care and Airon medical manufacturing has been a “great collaboration,” taking the best sides of each company and mashing them up together in order for production to ramp-up. “So, it’s really been kind of a two-pronged approach,” he said. “We’ve wanted to get teams on the ground both at GE and at Airon and we’re making immediate improvements in the through-put on their current production lines. We’ve seen almost a 40 percent increase in the amount of product that we’re able to produce from GE’s existing lines working collaboratively with them. So, that’s getting units out to people right now, today.” Baumbick said that Ford would work with Airon in Florida to achieve the same results. “And, as we bring these team members on to amazing partners of the [United Auto Workers], our goal is to get up to a production rate of nearly 60 of these machines per hour,” he stated. The design Baumbick and others had been developing is what they believe is the “right purpose-built machine to help for the current crisis.” “Because, as we set up these makeshift ICUs and convention centers and other locations, electricity and other infrastructure is going to be a challenge,” he remarked. “And so, this device has an advantage where it operates off compressed oxygen. The device delivers the basic need that is required to support COVID patients.” “There’s a combination of those factors that really got us locked in on this as the best possible design to move quickly, given the urgency,” Baumbick concluded.

Kudos to Ford Motor Company, GE and these other great companies for really stepping up!  Excellent!!      🙂

Ford teaming with GE to build 50,000 ventilators by July 4, working on ‘Trump time’

Ford is partnering with GE Healthcare to build 50,000 ventilators by July 4 at the automaker’s Rawson Components Plant in Michigan, the companies announced on Monday. The automaker will produce the Airon Model A-E ventilator, which has been licensed by GE Healthcare for the effort. Airon currently manufactures the devices at a rate of just three units per day at its Florida location, and Ford will assist in boosting production there as the new line is set up in Michigan. The current retail price for the device is approximately $7,000. A press release accompanying the announcement quoted White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro as saying Ford and GE are working on ‘Trump time’ to get the project going. The Model A-E is a relatively basic model that is sufficient for treating COVID-19 patients, according to Tom Westrick, GE Healthcare vice president and chief quality officer. It is compatible with masks and intubation and operates pneumatically via its oxygen supply without the need for electricity. A team of 500 paid-volunteer UAW members will work three shifts, 24 hours daily when the Ford facility reaches full production. Ford is also helping GE double the production of its own more complex CARESCAPE R860 through a separate effort. The news comes following an announcement from General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that the automaker is converting one of its electronic components factories to produce the Ventec VOCSN ventilator at the rate of up to 10,000 units per month.

This is SO awesome!   Kudos to both Ford Motor Company and GE for their joint effort here!  Excellent!!    🙂

Federal agencies warned of ventilator shortages for nearly two decades

The overwhelming number of coronavirus patients flooding hospitals across the U.S. has resulted in a shortage of ventilators for those experiencing difficulty breathing. But while President Trump has faced criticism from states, like New York, for the short supply, federal agencies have been predicting the need for more ventilators for nearly two decades. Reports from various government offices have been sounding the alarm over the course of at least three successive presidencies dating back to the George W. Bush administration. “GAO found that most hospitals lack the capacity to respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks,” concluded the U.S. Government Accountability Office in a 2003 report after the SARS outbreak, noting that “few hospitals have adequate medical equipment, such as the ventilators that are often needed for respiratory infections such as SARS, to handle the large increases in the number of patients that may result.” A 2005 Congressional Research Service report examining avian flu also noted that the U.S. was unlikely to be prepared for a pandemic due to that virus’ effect on the lungs. “If this strain were to launch a pandemic and retain this trait, large numbers of victims may require intensive care and ventilatory support, likely exceeding national capacity to provide this level of care,” that report said. “In any event, such specialized care is not available in most developing countries, and access to it is uneven within the United States.” Later that same year, the Department of Health and Human Services released an extensive report on the plan for an influenza pandemic. A key item on their list of actions to take for a “health care and emergency response” was to “assess surge capacity” of medical systems including ventilators, noting the necessity for maintaining an emergency stockpile. “Despite planning and preparedness, however, in a severe pandemic it is possible that shortages, for example of mechanical ventilators, will occur and medical care standards may need to be adjusted to most effectively provide care and save as many lives as possible,” the report warned, noting the likelihood of a significant increase in the demand for ventilators in the event of a large-scale outbreak. The need for ventilators – and other resources – is repeatedly discussed in this report, even referencing a CDC spreadsheet that could help predict the potential need for ventilators at different stages of a pandemic. A CNN report last week detailed a number of these internal government reports. The mounting problem after nearly two decades of warnings, however, is not simply the product of a problem ignored. The government accepted bids from companies in 2008 planning to buy tens of thousands of additional ventilators for the stockpile after swine flu, avian flu, SARS, and MERS revealed the need. According to a New York Times report, the federal government contracted the small Japanese company Newport Medical Instruments to develop and produce inexpensive ventilators that the U.S. would purchase. Years later, after prototypes were developed, Newport was bought out by Covidien in 2012, and the project ground to a halt. By 2014, Covidien wanted out of the contract, former federal officials told the Times, and the government agreed to cancel it. A year later, Covidien was purchased by Medtronic, which told the Times that the ventilators Newport was developing would not have been usable on newborns and would have fallen short of the government’s requirements. The government entered into a new contract with Philips in 2014, and finally ordered 10,000 ventilators in December 2019, with delivery expected later this year. “We definitely saw the problem,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director from 2009 to 2017, told the Times. “We innovated to try and get a solution. We made really good progress, but it doesn’t appear to have resulted in the volume that we needed.” Meanwhile, reports sounding the alarm continued to pile up while that effort stalled. In 2006, the Congressional Budget Office warned that in the event of a flu pandemic on the level of the 1918 Spanish flu, the U.S. would be grossly underprepared when it comes to ventilators. The CBO noted that at the time there were an estimated 100,000 ventilators in the country, but “a severe influenza pandemic like the one in 1918 would require 750,000 ventilators to treat victims.” A 2007 flu pandemic plan published by the Department of the Interior also noted that in such an event: “A substantial percentage of the world’s population will require some form of medical care,” and that medical facilities would likely be “ overwhelmed, creating a shortage of hospital staff, beds, ventilators and other supplies.” Similar language was used in a 2009 OSHA report for influenza pandemic preparedness that also referred to instructions from the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC for estimating the demand for ventilators and other equipment in the event of pandemics of varying scales. The same year, a report on preparedness for swine flu from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology warned then-President Barack Obama that “[c]ases requiring mechanical ventilation or intensive care could reach 10 to 25 per 100,000 population, requiring 50 to 100 percent or more of the total ICU capacity available in the United States and placing great stress on a system that normally operates at 80 percent of capacity.” In 2013, an avian flu outbreak in China led to a report from the National Institutes of Health on the demand for ventilators in the event of a flu pandemic. “There is a clear challenge to plan and prepare to meet demands for mechanical ventilators for a future severe pandemic,” the report said, estimating that in a “high severity scenario,” the U.S. would need “approximately 35,000 to 60,500 additional ventilators.” The Trump administration was also warned, as a June 2017 CDC report discussed the agency-managed Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) of ventilators, stating that “SNS ventilators might not suffice to meet demand during a severe public health emergency.” In 2006, the American Association for Respiratory Care recommended that the SNS increase its ventilator inventory to between 11,000 and 16,000. Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that the stockpile currently has 12,700 ventilators. This is up from roughly 4,000 in 2006. Now that the country is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the government is pushing for speedier delivery of the ordered ventilators that had been expected later on this year, as well as looking to other manufacturers for additional machines. General Motors has been working with medical device company Ventec Life Systems and parts suppliers to build more ventilators, and Trump invoked the Defense Production Act when he felt they were not moving fast enough. GM expects to produce ventilators at a rate of 10,000 per month starting in mid-April. Ford has announced that they and General Electric are also working together to produce “a simplified version” of an existing GE ventilator.

Ford says it’s ramping up production to combat coronavirus: ‘We’re going like hell’ on masks, ventilators

As the private sector is getting involved in combatting the coronavirus outbreak, Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford said on Tuesday that the automobile company is working with General Electric and 3M to “gear up production” on essential medical equipment. “We are going like hell, yes we are,” Ford told “Fox & Friends.” Ford said that his company is collaborating with 3M in making “air-purifying respirators, face shields, and 3-D printing N95 respirator masks.” “We got four different work streams going and we’re going as fast as we can,” Ford said. Meanwhile, GM, Ventec Life Systems and, coordinated private-sector response to COVID-19, are collaborating so that Ventec can increase its production of respiratory care products as hospitals across the U.S. face a potential ventilator shortage. 3M has doubled its production of N95 respirator masks since the coronavirus outbreak to a rate of nearly 100 million a month, Street Insider reported. Ford said that the medical equipment will be ready “soon.” “We’re testing face shields this week in Detroit-area hospitals to make sure they work and then we can ramp up pretty quickly,” Ford said. Ford said that his company is trying to “dramatically increase” the production of N95 respirators. “We’d like to do it by a factor of six to 10 times of what they’re already doing.” Ford went on to say, “And on the ventilator with GE, we’re helping them prototype, we’re using our engineers and manufacturing people and then as soon as we get that right, we’re going to go like crazy.”

This partnership between the Trump Administration and private sector is really working well.  Major kudos to Bill Ford and his company for stepping up.  As a Ford Mustang GT (my third, lol) driver, I’m proud of what Ford is doing to support the fight against this virus.  Excellent!!    🙂