The Race To Make Ventilators : Planet Money Ventilators are the supply and demand problem of the COVID pandemic. We go inside the scramble to build more, fast. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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The Race To Make Ventilators

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The Race To Make Ventilators

The Race To Make Ventilators

The Race To Make Ventilators

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A ventilator stands at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020. Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A ventilator stands at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Today on the show: ventilators — the supply and demand problem of the COVID pandemic. The simplest way for the world to get more ventilators is for existing companies to max out production — pay overtime; hire extra workers; run the factory 24/7. They already know how to make ventilators and already have FDA approval.

The problem with that strategy is that there's a ceiling to it. Take the Seattle-area-based Ventec. They're set up to make around 200 ventilators a month. They could maybe get that up to 1,000. But that's not going to be nearly enough.

So companies that have never made ventilator parts are racing to help. With hundreds of thousands of lives at stake, all across the world, factories are trying to turn on a dime.

From the frantic emails, to the supply chain nightmares to the maxed-out assembly lines — we go inside the scramble to make more ventilators, fast.

Music: "Torch" and "Java."

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