Every ventilator we get off the end of our line and out of our building is saving a life,” said Trevar Smedal, who works at Madison’s GE Datex-Ohmeda manufacturing plant, where production has ramped up and shifts have been added so that assembly of the life-saving equipment can continue around the clock.

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increases, nurses, doctors and governors across the country are echoing the passionate language of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he speaks of the “critical and desperate need for ventilators.”

Studies from China determined that, when the outbreak was at its peak there, roughly 5% of patients went into intensive care and 2.3% required the ventilator devices that pump oxygen into the lungs until people have recovered sufficiently to breathe on their own.

“Now imagine 2.3% of the perhaps millions of Americans who are expected to become infected with COVID-19 over the next three months,” explained Daniel M. Horn, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “There simply will not be enough of these machines, especially in major cities.”

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