Thanks, Elon

After promising to deliver hundreds (thousands) of ventilators to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Elon Musk has delivered high end CPAP machines:

Some of you might have noticed that we recently started a series called Corona Tools, in honour of those who are really standing out from the crowd during this crisis. But we needn’t have bothered, really. Because one man is fast emerging from this virus as the Corona Super Tool, leaving all the others in the (space) dust.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Elon Musk.


After playing down the virus since January, our Elon suddenly last week seemed like maybe he had taken a Trump-style turn, and had decided that maybe Covid-19 was something that needed to be taken seriously after all. Though he earlier said he would produce ventilators but only “if there’s a shortage” (as if there weren’t already one), he then announced on March 24 that he’d bought over 1,255 “FDA-approved ventilators” from China and had delivered them to Los Angeles.

A few days later, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was thanking him for “donating hundreds of ventilators to New York City and State, including our public hospitals”, saying he was “deeply grateful”.

Fair play, we thought. At least he seems to be trying to help, rather than mounting some silly PR stunt, like, we dunno, building a kid-size submarine or something. We were a bit confused, however, by how it seemed so easy for him to procure over 1,000 ventilators when the rest of the world’s governments seemed to be suffering from such a dire shortage.

On Wednesday, we got a sneak peek of some of these ventilators:


You might also be surprised to see there, on top of the boxes, not a ventilator, but a BPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, also called a “BiPAP” machine), which is used to treat sleep apnoea by maintaining a consistent breathing pattern at night (it’s very similar to a CPAP machine, but it has two pressure settings rather than just one).

Now BPAP and CPAP machines are sometimes called “non-invasive ventilators”, but these are not the ventilators that can be used in intensive care units, which are invasive ventilators that deliver oxygen to the lungs and are used as part of life support.

Well, that’s at LEAST honest as Musk’s promises of self driving mode for his cars, I guess.

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