GM, Ford in talks with White House to build ventilators for hospitals to use

This time it’s a war material of the medical kind -- ventilators and anything else needing great engineering and manufacturing know-how.

DETROIT – Coronavirus is putting a nation into an unprecedented place, with many people hunkering down.

Hospitals are expecting to need ventilators, as the virus could lead to an influx of patients. General Motors and Ford have a standing offer.

Detroit’s Davison Freeway became the nation’s first built because GM needed to quickly transport its new tanks off the assembly line and overseas to war.

Ford built B-24 Liberator Aircrafts at Willow Run in Ypsilanti. Instead of building cars, both helped the United States win World War II. Now, 80 years later, we’re looking at a new war with coronavirus.

“I spoke to two of the three of the Big Three, Big Three car makers, and they want to get going as soon as they can,” National Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox News.

This time it’s a war material of the medical kind -- ventilators and anything else needing great engineering and manufacturing know-how.

GM released a statement that said CEO Mary Barra was in contact with Trump’s administration to provide an update on the decision to suspend production. The statement said Barra indicated GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this time and has offered to help.

“We are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators,” the statement said.

Ford said it is ready to help the Trump administration in any way it can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment.

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How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.