GM CEO Mary Barra and Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple talk with employees at an Indiana electronics plant that has shifted to producing ventilators for the federal government.

General Motors on Tuesday began mass production of critical care ventilators that will be delivered to the federal government to replenish depleted U.S. stockpiles in the fight against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The automaker has a $489.4 million contract to produce 30,000 ventilators by August under the Defense Production Act, which President Trump invoked on March 27 in an effort to meet exploding demand for the life-saving devices.

Details: GM and its partner, Ventec Life Systems, said they will ship more than 600 ventilators this month, and almost 15,000 by the end of June. All 30,000 will be delivered by the end of August, but GM said it has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.

“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic. Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work.”
— GM CEO Mary Barra

The big picture: The Trump administration has said it is working with about 10 ventilator companies to obtain about 100,000 of the machines over the next 100 days.

Go deeper

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 36 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.

48 mins ago - Science

The risk of branding NASA's wins

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump, like some of his predecessors, is branding NASA's recent wins as political, presidential accomplishments even though they are the result of efforts that span administrations.

Why it matters: Experts warn that partisan politicking with NASA can lead to whiplash that leaves the agency scrambling to chase new goals whenever a new administration arrives in Washington.