Covid19 News

Ford Joins Effort to Make Ventilators


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Ford Motor and General Electric’s health care division said on Monday that they together planned to produce 50,000 ventilators over the next 100 days to help meet the needs of hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford plans to continue making about 30,000 ventilators a month once the initial batch has been made. Ford will use a plant in Rawsonville, Mich., and about 500 workers to make the medical devices.

Ford’s effort is the second-such initiative by a major automaker. General Motors has said it plans to make ventilators at one of its factories in Kokomo, Ind., with Ventec Life Systems, a ventilator manufacturer. Tesla, the electric car company, has also said that it intends to make ventilators with Medtronic at a factory in Buffalo.

G.E. has licensed the design of the ventilator from Airon Corporation of Melbourne, Fla. The device works on air pressure and does not need electricity, and the companies said it could be useful for most coronavirus patients who need help breathing.

Ford and G.E. said last week that Ford would help increase production of another ventilator based on a design from G.E. Healthcare.

Stocks on Wall Street rose on Monday as investors bid up shares of health care companies as they reported progress on products that could help with the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P 500 climbed more than 3 percent, adding to a strong showing last week. The S&P 500 had risen 10 percent last week after a three-day run that was its best since 1933, amid relief over Washington’s $2 trillion spending plan.

Gainers on Monday included Johnson & Johnson, which said it had identified a lead candidate for a vaccine for the virus and planned to ramp up both production and clinical testing. Abbott Laboratories rose on reports that it had said a new test that could detect the virus in five minutes had been cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

But there were lingering signs of caution in the financial markets. Most notably, oil prices tumbled to their lowest levels since 2002.

And in the stock market, Monday’s rally came on relatively light volume, said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, a trading and asset management firm. That suggests a lack of conviction among investors, he said.

“It’s a little bit of lack of confidence,” said Mr. Maley, “And you can’t blame them after what’s happened.”

Some industries continued to be battered by the long shadow of the virus. Cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival were all down 10 percent, making them some of the worst performers in the S&P 500 on Monday. United Airlines, American Airlines and Boeing, all of which had rallied last week on expectations that they would benefit from government assistance, also fell sharply.

The dizzying moves that characterized trading in financial markets for most of March seem to have ended as policymakers around the world moved to bolster their economies with spending and other means of support. But investors were weighing those efforts against the rising number of coronavirus cases and the redoubled efforts to contain the pandemic.

President Trump on Sunday extended guidelines on social distancing and nonessential travel in the United States, an admission that there is no certainty around when the spreading coronavirus epidemic will end.

In the oil market, brent crude, the international benchmark, fell more than 6 percent to roughly $26 a barrel on Monday. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was down more than 5 percent with prices hovering around $20.25 in early afternoon trading. Earlier in the morning the price had briefly dropped below $20 a barrel, a level not seen in almost 20 years.

Oil has also been hammered by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the largest oil producers, but analysts say that it is far outweighed by the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.

FGE, a consulting firm, recently estimated that demand for April would fall by 17 million barrels a day — to about 17 percent lower than usual — as airplanes are grounded, road traffic falls sharply and factories are shuttered.

Facebook and Twitter took down posts featuring Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, over the past two days after he claimed that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was a “cure everywhere” for the coronavirus and called for an end to social distancing and shelter-in-place measures in Brazil.

Mr. Bolsonaro had posted the videos, which showed him talking to street vendors in the Taguatinga district of Brasília, Brazil’s capital, to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Sunday. The New York Times has reported that there is no proof that the drug is effective against the virus.

Source Website Ford Joins Effort to Make Ventilators

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