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A Model A-E ventilator, left, and a simple test lung. The ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Photo: Ford

Ford and GE Healthcare announced plans to build a simplified ventilator design licensed from a Florida medical technology company, with the goal of producing 50,000 machines by early July, and up to 30,000 a month thereafter, to fight the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The companies are moving in "Trump time" to meet demand for urgently needed ventilators, says White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro. But with deaths expected to peak in two weeks, the machines won't arrive in large numbers in time to help the hardest-hit cities.

  • Ford expects to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4 — helping the U.S. government meet its goal of producing 100,000 ventilators in 100 days.

The latest: Federal officials formally announced the new contract for ventilator production under the Defense Production Act on Thursday, at a total price of $336 million for 50,000 ventilators to be produced by July 13.

Details: GE Healthcare is licensing the ventilator design from Airon Corp. — a small, privately held company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products.

  • The GE/Airon Model A-E ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, and the companies said its production can be quickly scaled to help meet growing demand in the U.S.

Ford will start by helping Airon boost production in Florida. By the week of April 20, the automaker will start production at a components plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., near Detroit, which the CDC now says is a hot spot for infections

  • The plant will run nearly around the clock, with 500 paid volunteer UAW-represented employees working on three shifts.
  • Today, Airon produces three ventilators per day in Melbourne, Fla.
  • At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 of the licensed version per week.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.