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Coronavirus: Elon Musk donates over 1,200 ventilators to California hospitals

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has donated over 1,000 ventilators to California hospitals. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has donated more than 1,000 ventilators to hospitals in Los Angeles, California to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The billionaire CEO of Tesla (TSLA) said in a tweet that he helped acquire 1,255 of the life-saving machines from China last week and arranged them to flown to Los Angeles.

Governor of California Gavin Newsom said at a press conference that the donation was a “heroic effort.”

"I told you a few days ago that he was likely to have a thousand ventilators this week,” he said. “They arrived in Los Angeles and [Musk] is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real time. It's a heroic effort."

In March, Musk posted a tweet saying: “The coronavirus panic is dumb.”

But two weeks later, the entrepreneur also said on Twitter that his company “will make ventilators if there is a shortage” and said he has repurposed a Tesla factory to produce the much-needed breathing aids.

“Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly,” he tweeted last Thursday.

Medical technology company Medtronic tweeted: “Addressing #COVID19 is a group effort. We are grateful for the discussion with @ElonMusk and @Tesla as we work across industries to solve problems and get patients and hospitals the tools they need to continue saving lives. We're all in this together.”

(Yahoo Finance)

Musk’s fortune has been hit by coronavirus pandemic. His net worth surged to about £38bn ($45bn) in February, but has dropped to £23bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

There are 31,573 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US and 402 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest situation report.

Read more: UK manufacturers to use 3D-printing to build ventilators for NHS

A WHO spokesperson said on Tuesday 85% of coronavirus cases reported over the past 24 hours have been in Europe and the United States.

UK manufacturers such as Vauxhall and Airbus (AIR.PA) are also planning to repurpose their factories and utilise 3D-printing technology to create parts for ventilators to treat coronavirus patients.