‘Thank you to Mahindra Group for...’: Mike Pompeo’s shout-out for India’s help
India’s Mahindra Group has temporarily repurposed its auto-plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan to make protective equipment for healthcare workers at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus.
It has been making aspiration boxes and face shields with polycarbonate material used for auto windshields, The Detroit News reported last week. Aspiration boxes protect healthcare professionals at the time hospitalized Covid-19 patients are being taken off tubes, when it can get “messy”.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave it a public shout-out Monday, in a post on Twitter, with a link to the news article: “Thank you to the Mahindra Group for rising to the occasion and using your facilities to manufacture life-saving equipment.”
The Mahindra plant’s protective gear for doctors and nurses is part of a larger effort by the auto industry to repurpose their manufacturing facilities to help make up for the shortfall of critical medical supplies such as ventilators for hospitalized Covid-19 patients and protective equipment healthcare professionals, with a little push from the White House. Ford and General Motors, for instance, are making ventilators.
Earlier this month, India had lifted restrictions on the export of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine a the request of President Donald Trump, who has touted it as a “game-changer” in the treatment of Covid-19, which remains unproven.
The Mahindra plant makes off-road utility vehicles called Roxor and it was closed in March because of the epidemic, which has hit Michigan state very hard, specially Detroit, home of the US auto industry.
“We had the material on hand to get started,” said Rick Haas, CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America, told the Detroit News, referring to the windshield material already in the inventory. “We’re also making face masks, but we’re having challenges keeping supply and material in house. Everyone is trying to do that.”
The aspiration boxes, which were designed locally, have been much in demand here and and abroad reportedly and the company plans to ramp up its manufacturing.