NY needed fans for the coronavirus. They developed one in a month.


The New York ventilation effort began after widespread warnings of shortages. In mid-March, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a conference call with the best staff. De Blasio recalled that the impending shortage of ventilators was “frightening like hell”. New York did not have fan producers, but he told his staff to do and spend what was needed to fix the problem.

The city’s chief of economic development, Mr. Patchett, who was on call, knew Mr. Cohen and his technology center, New Lab, which is located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Mr. Cohen told him about the fan design project he was planning. It looked promising and the city made its initial grant.

Later, on March 25, after further development of the M.I.T. design, intensive care doctors from city public hospitals and two private hospitals saw the most recent version of the machine. That evening, Mr. Patchett called Dr. Mitchell Katz, who heads the Health and Hospitals Corporation, which manages the city’s public hospitals.

“We definitely have to do it,” recalls Dr. Katz.

The project had been launched about 10 days earlier, after Mr. Cohen, on the recommendation of a scientific friend from San Francisco, contacted Alex Slocum, a renowned mechanical engineer at MIT whose class created the design in 2010 .


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