Hospitals across the country desperately need ventilators, and the Buffalo region is no different.
When Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company could make ventilators he got calls from across the country. In fact, he has already bought and delivered 1,200 from China to Los Angeles.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that New York has access to 6,000 ventilators and may need between 18,000 and 37,000 more to combat COVID-19 statewide.
Now, New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy and Democratic Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, have asked Tesla and Musk to begin building ventilators at the Buffalo plant that recently had to be temporarily closed due to the coronavirus spread.
Langworthy tweeted March 19 that the Buffalo plant could be repurposed to manufacture ventilators. The plant was built and partly equipped with almost $1 billion in taxpayer funds to build solar panels for roofs and other products for Tesla’s electric car fleet.
“New Yorkers bought and paid for this factory and now it’s incumbent upon Tesla to serve them during their time of need. There is no one who owes this to New Yorkers more than Elon Musk. I urge the Governor to join my call and demand they start immediate production. Lives are on the line,” Langworthy said on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Ryan made his own plea to Tesla.
Ryan’s staff said that ventilators help patients breathe when they can’t breathe on their own.
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created an unprecedented challenge for New York, for our nation, and for the entire world,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
“At this difficult time, it is critical that each of us do our part to ensure our state can respond to the growing pandemic. I thank Elon Musk and the team at Tesla for announcing that they are working on a plan.
“Tesla’s factory in Buffalo would be an ideal location to ramp up ventilator production, and I urge them to make this commitment immediately. New York State is the most impacted state in the nation. It makes sense that increased ventilator production would happen here to ensure we can meet the growing demand of our healthcare system,” Ryan said.
Here is Ryan’s letter to Tesla:
Tesla did not immediately respond to WIVB about these requests from state leaders.
This is a developing story.