The German government just placed an order for 10,000 mechanical ventilators. What’s the U.S. government doing about a potential shortage here? Not much, it seems. President Trump alluded to the matter in a press conference but did not spell out any plans.
Ventilators pump oxygen into the lungs of a failing Covid-19 patient. U.S. hospitals have something like 62,000 up-to-date machines immediately available, plus another 99,000 obsolete units that could be pulled out of storage in an emergency, says the Society of Critical Care Medicine. If the pandemic in the U.S. veers off in the Italian direction, that entire collection may be inadequate.
Could manufacturers of these devices boost output? Yes, but not overnight.
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