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While much of our focus is currently on the on-going protests around the country, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still very much here. When cases first started to ramp up earlier in the year, one thing many medicinal professionals worried about was the number of ventilators available.
Non-medical companies started to provide support in this field and now, tech fitness company Fitbit has released its affordable, FDA-approved ventilator called the Fitbit Flow. While FDA approval can typically take a long time, Fitbit was able to secure Emergency Use Authorization to push out their ventilators quickly.
Fitbit notes (in a statement to The Verge) that the units cost about $5,000 and that the cost is “significantly less” than the price of traditional ventilators. In addition to being a low-cost option for emergency facilities, Fitbit also notes that its ventilators are for emergency use, when traditional options are not available.
In a statement, James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit, notes, “COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the health care systems caring for them. We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for ventilators and help make a difference in the global fight against this virus.”
While much of the US has done a great job of flattening the curve, ongoing protests and the reopening of many businesses could be a factor in an increase in cases in the coming weeks and months.