California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Saturday that his state is enlisting billionaire Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Per Politico, during a press conference, Newsom revealed that industry titans based in California are doing the best they can to assist in the crisis.
Musk — the founder of electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla and the aerospace manufacturer SpaceX — is “working overtime” to produce ventilators necessary for patients with severe symptoms, according to Newsom. Musk has also pledged to produce 250,000 masks. Apple will provide 1 million of them.
The governor also revealed that Musk and Cook are not the only industry leaders helping with the crisis. Both the private and the nonprofit sector have pledged to help, Newsom said, with Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar working on repurposing ventilators. Sports teams have offered arenas, and universities have also offered space to the state.
“It’s ennobling and it makes you feel like we truly can meet this moment,” Newsom said, explaining that the federal government has also been helpful. According to the governor, the government recently provided a set of medical field units, which will add some 2,000 beds to California’s health care system.
Newsom also urged caution, asking all Californians — especially those who are young — to respect the stay-at-home order and stay inside.
“The young people who are at the beaches thinking it’s a party: Time to grow up. Time to wake up. Time to recognize it’s not just about the old folks, it’s about your impact on their lives.”
“If you need to exercise, exercise. Just don’t do it in a public setting,” he added.
As Politico notes, earlier on Saturday, California reported 1,224 confirmed coronavirus cases. According to Newsom, the state — which has already distributed millions of masks to citizens — currently has 21 million of them left.
The federal government has been criticized for the way it’s handling the coronavirus pandemic, with some accusing Donald Trump’s administration of not doing enough to stop the outbreak. Former Vice President Joe Biden — the leading Democratic Party presidential contender — said earlier this week that the Defense Production Act must be activated, and that states and local governments need assistance.
According to Biden, the Trump administration also has to do more to address the looming economic crisis. Biden said he would “surge dollars” into the economy in order to help workers, small businesses, and corporations survive the crisis.
Prominent members of the media have also criticized the president, with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes suggesting on Friday that Trump is “yelling at reporters and failing at his job.”