March 19, 2020

Elon Musk can help and will help... but not just yet.


What do you think of Musk's approach?
 
pollcode.com free polls

56 comments:

rehajm said...

He's making a reasonable distinction between the actual need for ventilators and the fear of a future actual need for ventilators.

Many believe this is no time for reasonableness.

gilbar said...

What do you think of Musk's approach?

Musk's approach?
his approach? you mean his approach of saying, OH, those would be easy to make; but we don't make those; you should talk to people that do?

Rusty said...

Gilbar.
I think he's looking at what he has on hand and then looking at the cost in time and money in tooling up to modify what he has or start from scratch. Not inconsiderable considerations.

On a side note. Does anybody know if a CPAP machine can be modified to work? I mean hospitals give the damn things away if you're on medicare.

Darrell said...

Nate, you seem to be a massive blowhard. I would think that you could ventilate a dozen hospitals. Why won't you even try?

David Begley said...

5. Another publicity stunt by one of the biggest con men EVER. Tesla is a total scam and is headed to BK. $TSLAQ

David Begley said...

Isn’t Nate out of his lane? He had Hillary winning in 2016, too.

The self-proclaimed Wizards of Smart aren’t going to solve this problem.

tommyesq said...

Deliberate misreading of Musk's statement. In addition to the time and expense to convert production facilities, there is considerable time to obtain regulatory approvals, likely would take longer than the current shortages would last.

mandrewa said...

The questions are wrong.

He was in fact offering to help and asking who he should contact.

He was also thinking on his feet, which is normal for Musk, and so anyone reading this needs to realize this may never happen for some practical reason that Musk will soon realize.

He also understood, and I can see him thinking it as he is answering the question, that there is only the possibility of doing something if he can contact people that are desperate for ventilators. Otherwise they will of course say, "You have never built a ventilator before! We don't want your help."

gilbar said...

Rusty TOTALLY AGREED WITH gilbar, and said...
I think he's looking at what he has on hand and then looking at the cost in time and money in tooling up to modify what he has or start from scratch. Not inconsiderable considerations.


which, is EXACTLY WHAT I SAID; they do NOT make these; you should talk to people that do!

agentlesoul said...

Sure, Elon will wade into a crisis and offer an over-engineered technical solution to grab headlines and save the day. Like inventing a submarine to save a bunch of kids trapped in a flooded cave. Thanks Elon, but no.

gilbar said...

could Enron Musk start making these in a year or so? SURE!
could Enron Musk make them in time for this crisis? Oh HELL to the NO!

Eleanor said...

The fastest way to get more ventilators made is for the companies that already make the parts and do the assembly to go on 24 hour production. They'd just have to train more people to do the work and get more raw materials. No factories to build or machinery to retool. Elon Musk knows he's not in the best position to provide ventilators, but saying that gets him no publicity.

Laslo Spatula said...

Or perhaps he is willing to invest the time and energy to do so, unless it is redundant due to predicted oncoming supply elsewhere.

A lot of players and not a lot of information.

Maybe he wants to confirm it from those in need, rather than the specious stories that float about, unverified by an incurious media caught up with the more important work of determining racism in the virus ' name.

I am Laslo.

gilbar said...

and Eleanor says everything that needs to be said!

Chanie said...

Where's the option for "He was stoned when he posted that and has no idea what he's talking about"?

Roy Jacobsen said...

Eleanor said...
The fastest way to get more ventilators made is for the companies that already make the parts and do the assembly to go on 24 hour production. They'd just have to train more people to do the work and get more raw materials. No factories to build or machinery to retool.

Those two limitations you mentioned--people to do the work and materials needed--are not trivial.

Still easier than retooling a Tesla facility, though.

tim in vermont said...

GM had already offered, BTW, so he was sort of playing catch up. But still it was admirable to offer, but there is no reason to make them just to haul them to the dump. If there is a need, go for it. Hopefully his engineers are working on plans to make them right now. That’s what a meaningful offer to help would be. He needs to be ready to actually do it.

mandrewa said...

Meggitt to lead UK consortium to make ventilators for coronavirus

To put that into context, Meggitt is a big aerospace contractor in the UK. I don't think they currently make ventilators, but they, along with Vauxhall (automobiles), Airbus (like Boeing), Rolls-Royce (automobiles), and Jaguar Land Rover (automobiles), have stated they are going to attempt to do this.

"The government (UK) has said that it is hoping UK manufacturers will speedily build “basic” ventilators, noting that they would be cheaper and easier to produce than existing models."

So maybe Elon Musk's offer is more real than people realize. Maybe Tesla and SpaceX can do this.

jaydub said...

You left out the relevant option: Musk knows the over reaction to this virus is entirely irrational and no one even knows whether there is going to be a shortage of respirators. He also knows that he’ll never be taken up on his offer because there are other industries better positioned to produce respirator components and assemble them than a car company.

Yancy Ward and Mandrewa in last night’s café post hit the target when they opined it was the virus testing that was expanding exponentially which, in turn, made the virus look like it was spreading at the same rate as the testing. Inga, in posting an article that supposedly proved young people were not invincible as regards the disease, actually showed the opposite – the Korean CDC statistics in that article attributed ZERO Korean deaths to the disease for those 2867 Koreans under 30 who were known infected, i.e., young people are in fact invincible if invincibility is measured by actual deaths from Coronavirus. Korean CDC statistics also show that the 2044 people aged 30 – 49 experienced exactly TWO deaths, i.e., almost invincible. It wasn’t until the 60 – 69 age group that the death percentage rose to 1.5%, and older patients fared worse (5.35% for those 70 -79 and 10.84% for those over 80.)

These statistics further support my opinion expressed a couple of days ago that this disease is not something over which we should unnecessarily destroy the economy and people’s livelihoods through Chicken Little type panic. What needs to be done appears to be to socially distance or isolate the older population and leave the younger people to go about their lives in order to keep the economy functioning. Those are not mutually exclusive approaches. It is also counterproductive for those of us who are retired or otherwise have secure incomes to discount the effects of forced social distancing and isolation on the producing portion of the population. We don’t have enough skin in their game to make the rules for them. The bottom line is this too shall pass, and I suspect when it does we as a country are going to look back and ask WTF?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Yancy Ward and Mandrewa in last night’s café post hit the target when they opined it was the virus testing that was expanding exponentially which, in turn, made the virus look like it was spreading at the same rate as the testing.

I'm just a housewife, but it's obvious to me that positive tests, serious cases, and deaths are three dramatically different things, something that the cases are EXPLODING!!!!!!!!!!! EXPONENTIALY!11!!1!! people are not generally acknowledging.

Krumhorn said...

As a medical device, the FDA would have to be involved, but even if expedited, who would want to be connected to a breathing assistance apparatus that could silently back out of its parking space on its own?

- Krumhorn

Jersey Fled said...

“We could increase production five-fold in a 90- to 120-day period,” says Chris Kiple, chief executive of Ventec Life Systems, a Bothell, Wash. firm that makes ventilators used in hospitals, homes and ambulances. He’d have to tool up production lines, train assemblers and testers and get parts. Accelerating the parts delivery might be the toughest task, he says."

From an article in Forbes last week.

Are we sure we even have a ventilator shortage? Or is this another media driven panic.


Ventec is a relatively small company, but the big guys can tool up just as easily. I worked in that industry for more than a decade. There is nothing in a ventilator that is made of unobtainium. And these guys are already approved by the FDA.

And if coal miners can be trained to become coders, restaurant workers can be trained to assemble ventilators.

Tom T. said...

From what I've heard, the real bottleneck is not the supply of ventilators, which can be expanded as described here, but the supply of people trained to operate one.

alanc709 said...

None of the responses included "Vain and self-aggrandizing", so I didn't vote.

Krumhorn said...

There is nothing in a ventilator that is made of unobtainium.

Good ‘un! It’s Laslo-worthy.

- Krumhorn

Kevin said...

Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly.

When the damn bill that Bernie wrote is passed, all the ventilators that can be produced will be produced instantly.

Kevin said...

How free we feel to bash billionaires trying to help as we sit here doing nothing.

No wonder socialism's appeal is on the rise.

Leland said...

I saw CBS reporting on the shortage of ventilators. The company they showcased makes 150 a month. That's a lot of ventilators. How many trained nurses and doctors are we making a month that can operate a ventilator? The CBS report dropped in a scare mongering line about how this company's ventilators were portable and could be used in tents "if it comes to that". Again, how many trained nurses and doctors are we making that can operate ventilators in a tent. Can Elon Musk make nurses and doctors?

Hospitals tend to rent ventilators. They don't have a lot of them, because using them means a bed is taken up for a long time. Along with that bed, a nurse is needed nearly full time, perhaps half time as the nurse is shared between two patients on ventilators. Typically these are nurses with several years of experience, so not the least trained of them. That's why hospitals don't have a lot of ventilators.

Gahrie said...

He's not necessarily offering to produce ventilators. He's attacking the current system used to produce ventilators and providing evidence that he knows what he is talking about.

Ann Althouse said...

"How many trained nurses and doctors are we making a month that can operate a ventilator?"

Since we're cutting through the usual regulations, why don't we train people specifically for operating ventilators? They don't have to be full-scale nurses or doctors.

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

They don't have to be full-scale nurses or doctors.

They don't? Are you okay with this newly minted ventilator operator running your machine, Ms. Better than nothing is a high standard?

Calypso Facto said...

"Since we're cutting through the usual regulations, why don't we train people specifically for operating ventilators? "

Great idea. And since we're cutting through the usual regulations, why don't we consider whether we really needed those regulations (centralized CDC testing, specialized occupational licensing for everything, cross-border medical care, cross-border medical insurance, slow FDA drug and medical device approval processes) in the first place, or whether they were just market-protecting and price-inflating cronyism that didn't contribute significantly to public safety and unduly hindered our response in this situation and every damn day.

Jersey Fled said...

In NJ you need 120 hours of training to become an EMT. (Strangely, you need 1200 hours of training in NJ to become a licensed cosmetologist. But that's another story).

I'm sure we could train Ventilator Technicians in less that 120 hours.

gilbar said...

Gahrie said... He's not necessarily offering to produce ventilators

as Gahrie said; Enron Musk is NOT offering to produce ventilators
As Al Smith would say, let's take a look at the record:
Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems
interesting, but COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT. hvac systems aren't venitlators
Ventilators are not difficult,

Says a man that's NEVER tried to make one... If he Even knows what they are?
but cannot be produced instantly.

Begging off ANY INDICATION that he will EVER, even THINK, about building any
Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?

notice he doesn't say:
Have them call be
I'll get right on it
or anything implying (IN ANY WAY) that he'll do something; he just asks a rhetorical question

Jersey Fled said...

I'm glad some of the posters here are not in charge of the response to this emergency.

Hand wringing seems to be their core competency.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"When the damn bill that Bernie wrote is passed, all the ventilators that can be produced will be produced instantly."

And they will be free!

henge2243 said...

There needed to be a fifth choice, “suck it you attention grabbing douche and start making the ventilator and stop stroking yourself and boasting about your products which only appeal to still closeted, sallow chested nerds with a chip on their shoulder from getting multiple public wedgies in junior high school.”

Jason said...

Yes, Musk's people can make ventilators.

No, you can't just wave a magic wand and do it overnight. But it's not a fucking Manhattan project.



henge2243 said...

My deep-as-a-sheet-of-paper comment above got me to thinking. Instead of shuttering the auto plants, couldn’t they be re-tooled to help with the production of the supposedly much needed ventilators?

Derek Kite said...

Not an unreasonable question. Is there actually a shortage, and where?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"Deliberate misreading of Musk's statement. In addition to the time and expense to convert production facilities, there is considerable time to obtain regulatory approvals, likely would take longer than the current shortages would last."

Yes. This is my world and it's already too late to convert a facility in time to provide supply for the peak of the crisis. You can always repurpose a facility. Sewing machine companies can make carbines, tractor companies can make tanks, but it takes time. Odd that after a 40 year Cold War and it's attendant bio-weapons, there isn't a huge reserve of these things in government warehouses.

Ken B said...

Where from what you quote do you get he isn’t acting now? He is pointing out, I think correctly, that it takes time to retool and resupply to produce ventilators. Have you knowledge to the contrary?

My opinion of you sinks hourly.

Ken B said...

Are ICU ventilators easy to make? I am ask8ng Althouse, who knows all.

chuck said...

I expect a lack of trained personnel will be a bigger problem than lack of ventilators. Germany was still producing aircraft in 1945, but they had run out of pilots.

Ken B said...

“Yes, Musk's people can make ventilators.

No, you can't just wave a magic wand and do it overnight. But it's not a fucking Manhattan project. “

Exactly. In the Second World War the Brits converted toy factories to make sten guns. Sten guns are much simpler than ventilators. But it still took time and expertise to convert. It can be done, just not instantly.

Andrew said...

Ann Althouse said...
"How many trained nurses and doctors are we making a month that can operate a ventilator?"

"Since we're cutting through the usual regulations, why don't we train people specifically for operating ventilators? They don't have to be full-scale nurses or doctors."


In NY and around the country they are training nurses and GP doctors how to operate ventilators.

I believe Ford and GM have also offered to make ventilators. The Irish company that specializes in manufacturing ventilators has ramped up to 24/7 operations.

Unknown said...

The USA is already near the top of the league-table for number of critical-care beds per 100,000 and number of ventilators per critical care bed.

Perhaps I'm not watching/reading enough news (Leland mentions a CBS news report on the shortage of ventilators) but what I recall seeing so far is conjecture that the USA might need more with reference to shortages in other countries, rather than with reference to the projected need here vs. the number actually available.

People seem to be aghast that the existing makers of ventilators aren't ramping up to maximize production of the things, but I've yet to see any indication that there are actually any buyers for more than the current rate of production.

Peter said...

“Admirable because he wants to make ventilators but wants people to know it can’t be done instantly”
That’s the one I would have voted for. There’s nothing in his tweet that gives me a sense that he’s trying to leverage something for money.
It is true that it would take time, even for Tesla or SpaceX to ramp up ventilator production.

gilbar said...

Odd that after a 40 year Cold War and it's attendant bio-weapons, there isn't a huge reserve of these things in government warehouses.

what makes you think that there isn't?
what makes you think, that if there IS; Anyone would know WHERE?
Top Men

walter said...

Laslo Spatula said...Maybe he wants to confirm it from those in need, rather than the specious stories that float about, unverified by an incurious media caught up with the more important work of determining racism in the virus ' name.
--
Well..there are the technical regulations to meet..and then the arduous process of model name approval by sensitivity trained committee.

Re deputizing ventilator ops, we have a lot of HVAC techs in a slow period.
Sorry.
Actually, I had the displeasure of watching many hours of ventilator operation. In acute situations, they are ICU. In less acute situations, can be on a more or less standard hospital room floor. Respiratory therapists do all the adjustments while the patient is more generally under nurse care. Sometimes it takes a long time to get RTs to arrive to do the most mundane adjustment. In a crisis situation, I'd think some of that could be delegated...and in future, even automated.

Jason said...

Maybe we need to roll out all those iron lungs we made during the polio epidemic! :-)

Unless we've converted them all to propane grills and smokers already.

Rusty said...

Peter said...
"“Admirable because he wants to make ventilators but wants people to know it can’t be done instantly”
That’s the one I would have voted for. There’s nothing in his tweet that gives me a sense that he’s trying to leverage something for money.
It is true that it would take time, even for Tesla or SpaceX to ramp up ventilator production. "
That's what I got out of it. He want's to know if it's worth it to divert a facility into making something else.
I'm sure that if your searched wide enough you could find industries, while not in the ventilator business, produce parts that can be adapted or repurposed. The afore mentioned CPAP or SCUBA, or even veterinary care.
Most of what I do is stuff like this. Solve problems in manufacturing.

John Lynch said...

The government needs to fund contracts and take bids, like they did in 1942.

Nichevo said...


Ken B said...
Where from what you quote do you get he isn’t acting now? He is pointing out, I think correctly, that it takes time to retool and resupply to produce ventilators. Have you knowledge to the contrary?

My opinion of you sinks hourly.

3/19/20, 10:29 AM
Ken B said...
Are ICU ventilators easy to make? I am ask8ng Althouse, who knows all.

3/19/20, 10:31 AM




+1. Intelligent people ask questions. Fools rush in.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"what makes you think, that if there IS; Anyone would know WHERE?"

That did occur to me. Also that these 65 year-old relics might not be fuctional. Or they were sold as surplus in the '90's. A history of governmental Cold War hoarding would make a fascinating book.