Companies Combat COVID-19: Elon Musk Paves The Path Forward

Will Mahan, Scarlet Staff

When one thinks of combating the COVID-19, one may think of what individuals are doing and what the government does to combat the virus. However one company that should not be overlooked in its relief efforts is Tesla.

Earlier this March, COVID-19 first hit the United States. While the numbers started small, the rate of infection has only grown exponentially. In order to combat this, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently unveiled a new plan to distribute ventilator masks across the United States and across the world to combat the spread of the infectious virus.

“We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions,” Musk tweeted out over twitter on March 31.

These ventilator masks are planned to be released to hospitals, free of charge over the course of the next month.

As this was happening, it was reported that Musk had already sent 100 ventilator masks to the state of California, whose hospitals have been overrun with older patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.

As Musk paves the way for relief efforts, many other companies have started to follow suit including Dyson, Apple, Ford, General Motors, and Ventec Life Systems. A big reason for these humanitarian efforts is the projected impact COVID-19 could have economically, as well as socially.

With the virus ramping up in size and scope, many wonder if the quarantine period will end by June, and if colleges, universities, and businesses will face a second wave of the virus as they start to re-open.

This second wave has occurred in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, as returning travelers are bringing cases of COVID-19 back with them. On March 31, Singapore announced it had 23 new cases, while Taiwan announced it had ten new cases, and Hong Kong announced it had five.

As this is happening, demand for products like hand sanitizer and ventilation masks have skyrocketed. The hand sanitizer company Purell has seen its own stock jump to a shocking 13% year-to-date, even as the stock market and the DOW Jones is numerically down by significant margins.

In an email to Tesla employees, Musk said, “I’d like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work. I will personally be at work, but that’s just me. Totally ok if you want to stay home for any reason.”

So far, Tesla and SpaceX, one of Musk’s other companies, have had minimal cases of COVID-19 among staff. SpaceX has currently quarantined 12 of its employees, while Tesla has confirmed two of its own quarantined employees have tested positive.

The only path forward for combating COVID-19 is relief efforts and social distancing. It is for these reasons that actions from Elon Musk and others in the private sector are so important moving forward. Not only to ensure life can resume as normal, but also in order to protect our older population, as well.

History will reflect on how not just we as individuals acted, but also how our government and businesses acted. Musk’s actions will have a profound historical importance in reviewing this case in the years to come.