The coronavirus pandemic has been the defining characteristic of 2020, and that likely isn’t going to change anytime soon. While the health crisis continues to unfold both at home and abroad, there is still a lot of debate surrounding the management of the crisis. One positive thing that most people would likely agree on however are the actions taken by Detroit automakers. Since March, Ford Motor Company and General Motors have worked to produce tens of thousands of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. This mission, deemed the “Arsenal of Health”, is now officially coming to a close.
According to a report from The Detroit News, Ford and GM are currently wrapping up their production of life-saving breathing devices. Using the Korean War-era Defense Production Act, the Trump Administration contracted Ford and GM to build at least 80,000 portable ventilators to help resupply the national stockpile back in the spring. The Detroit automakers initially offered their services up to the federal government in early spring as the coronavirus began to surge across the several metropolitan areas in the States. The following transition from tooling up new vehicles to ventilators remains the most rapid mobilization of the nation’s industrial complex since WWII.
Not unlike when the Second World War was raging across the Atlantic, it was the nation’s automakers who moved to answer the needs of the American people and their government. It was here in Detroit that planes, tanks, and billions upon billions of munitions were created to fuel the war effort. This herculean undertaking became known as the Arsenal of Democracy, and will forever be a shining moment in the history of these companies. It is likely for these very reasons that these automakers felt the need to take action against the pandemic via the “Arsenal of Health”.
And while it is true that ventilators aren’t in the same demand as they were at the beginning of the pandemic, that doesn’t mean this act was in vain. According to that The Detroit News report, more than 1,200 of the ventilators produced were sent to hospitals across Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana and Texas. In the case of Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, some 200 patients were hooked up to ventilators produced by Detroit automakers.
The coronavirus pandemic may continue to be raging here in the United States, but we can thank a few Detroit automakers for making sure that the national stockpile of lifesaving equipment is up to par.