Recently, General Motors announced its decision to manufacture ventilators as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the outbreak, the U.S. is looking to major companies, like GM, to help fight against COVID-19. The unexpected spread of the coronavirus and its high contagion rate has put a major strain on our healthcare system. Doctors and nurses across the nation are overwhelmed by the number of patients and the shortage of supplies – specifically ventilators and PPE masks.
GM announced its strategic partnership with Ventec Life Systems to construct ventilators at a manufacturing plant in Kokomo, Indiana. President Trump has also issued a statement, urging General Motors to produce these critical-aide devices under the mandate of the Defense Production Act. This law orders American-based companies to produce critical devices in response to a nationwide outbreak. With immense pressure building, GM is in the process of strategizing a safe and effective plan to meet the urgent demand and help fight the crisis.
The following will explain the use of ventilators, and how GM’s contribution to the pandemic will help save lives.
How does a ventilator function?
A ventilator machine provides mechanized ventilation, allowing oxygen to move in and out of the lungs. When a patient is unable to breathe on his/her own, these devices are necessary for maintaining the respiratory function of the body. Essentially, the ventilator serves as a lifeline for the patient. This life-saving technology is found primarily in hospitals, where its use is essential for critically ill patients, who have pneumonia or severe respiratory symptoms.
With shortness of breath being one of the leading symptoms of the coronavirus, the demand for ventilators is greater than ever. There are over 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States – making it crucial to produce more ventilators at a faster rate. The government is turning to American automakers, like General Motors, to make a powerful initiative towards combating this life-threatening virus. Renown companies, like Ford and General Electric, have also expressed their plan to help ease the current situation by producing thousands of ventilators like GM.
There is no question that GM is under a strict directive to perform and prioritize the production of these devices. President Trump has indicated his high expectations for the American automaker to execute a successful production. At this time, the government is unable to determine the number of ventilators needed, making it difficult to control the volume of manufacture. However, General Motors estimates it can make around 6,000-10,000 ventilators a month and will start its production in mid-April. Once rapid production is underway, we can estimate that the increase in ventilators will help save lives in the months to come.
More than 1,000 GM employees are expected to construct ventilators in Kokomo, Indiana. General Motors will follow the lead of other major companies by implementing safety protocols in the workplace. Employees can expect their temperature to be taken upon arrival at work each day. This will monitor the employees’ well-being while maintaining a healthy work environment. The employee workstations will also be kept at a 6-foot distance to follow CDC guidelines.
In addition to employee welfare, GM will uphold strict cleaning standards in their factory. GM plans to implement a thorough cleaning schedule and official safety guidelines. Cleaning crews will work daily to address hotspots that are known for collecting germs – such as door handles and communal bathrooms. These safety measures will ensure that all employees are working in a sanitized space.
As statistics show, the pandemic is expected to reach its peak in the next few weeks. It is a fearful time for many Americans – regardless of age, gender, class, or ethnicity. As death tolls continue to rise, it is crucial for citizens to follow the guidelines set by their state and local officials. Although we are still learning more about the coronavirus, staying at home and social distancing is key. These precautions seem to be the most effective methods for stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Staying at home is not so bad when you have the internet and Netflix at the click of a button. But before you become a professional couch potato, it is best advised to start knocking some items off your to-do list. Fix that broken fence or start that garden you’ve been talking about. Detail your car or browse online for affordable headlight replacements. It’s as simple as visiting Headlights Depot, for quality options at a low cost. Learn a new language or research your family history. The options are endless. Whatever activity you choose, make sure it keeps your mind busy and your anxiety levels low.
Test of time
While General Motors prepares for the upcoming weeks of production, we can only hope that this new wave of ventilators will help ease the shortage across the U.S. The time is urgent, and stress is building – but as a country, we must stay vigilant. With the help of GM and many other corporate organizations, we can start to advance towards a safer environment. These ventilators will provide relief in a time of immense panic, but it is our job to help stop the spread. As a nation, we must flatten the curve – together.