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The world is getting a little crazier in 2020, and not in a good way. With the recent spread of COVID-19, countries are seeing a rise in medical cases and a decline in the necessary medical equipment to treat the virus and keep medical practitioners safe. Automakers everywhere have been hit and paused production for now, but several have begun working together to help support medical and healthcare workers by using their resources and time to produce medical equipment such as ventilators and protective masks for keeping helping to keep the virus away from the mouth and face.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has taken a large initiative in the production of protective face masks at one of its factories in Asia, recently partially converted for this project. FCA aims to start producing these masks in the coming weeks, aiming for about one million units per month. The first batch of supplies will be delivered to healthcare staff and medical professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With COVID-19 spreading the quickest way via tiny droplets of infected saliva, face masks have become a vital piece of equipment for those trying to avoid the disease and medical staff that are dealing with COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. Such equipment needs to be changed regularly to avoid infection and spread of the virus, and this will become increasingly harder if a shortage were to occur.
“Protecting our first responders and health care workers has never been more important…We canvassed our contacts across the healthcare industry and it was very clear that there is an urgent and critical need for face masks. We’ve marshaled the resources of the FCA Group to focus immediately on installing production capacity for making masks and supporting those most in need on the front line of this pandemic.” - FCA CEO Mike Manley said in a press release this week
One of the major killers of COVID-19 is what it does to the lungs. As the virus spreads to the lungs, it eventually replicates itself and kills healthy lung cells as it spreads. These infected cells cause the human immune system to panic and attack everything, eventually damaging the protective lung tissue that keeps us protected from many kinds of bacteria and viruses. Once this happens, recovery is very slim, breathing becomes difficult or impossible, and people require ventilators to live. It’s all very sad.
With the number of COVID-19 cases growing, hospitals are soon going to be hitting a critical point and will be in major need of more medical equipment, including ventilators. FCA is working with Italy’s biggest ventilator manufacturer to boost production and has been joined by many automakers helping the cause. General Motors Company has partnered with Ventec Life Systems in Washington to increase production capacity, crafting components for more than 200,000 ventilators. Tesla has delivered 1,000 ventilators to California hospitals and has converted a factory to produce more each week. Ford Motor Company has also joined, redesigning a scale production for Powered Air-Purifying Respirator for first responders and health care workers and 3D printing disposable respirators.
We all can do something to help stop the spread of COVID-19. All of Florida is currently looking at a lockdown for the next two weeks. Look for our article next week on tips for survival. We’re not saying lock yourself up in your house, get some fresh air, but keeping travel and outside social interaction to a minimum is a good place to start. Follow along with us on NowCar social media for more updates.