Coronavirus Updates: Olympics Postponed, SpaceX Delays Launch, L.A. County Racks Up More Cases

The coronavirus pandemic's emergence has changed the world around us. Conferences have been cancelled, travel has been severely restricted, and working from home has become the norm. But less clear is the scale of the economic impact and how companies should be reacting. Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.


Olympics Postponed, Financial Strain for NBC

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A joint statement from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee president early Tuesday revealed that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed. The games are now set to occur sometime after 2020, but not later than summer of 2021. Among the collateral damage is NBC, which owns the event's media rights through 2032. Back in January when NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast) unveiled Peacock, its new direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming service, the company highlighted to investors its ability to take "full advantage of the massive promotional opportunity of the Tokyo Olympics" when the service becomes available to non-Comcast subscribers on July 15. Rather than attracting customers by flying in the Olympics tailwind, Peacock must now rely more heavily on its distinguishing feathers, which include its exclusive content and ad-supported business model. It will join an increasingly competitive D2C market, leaving onlookers to wonder how smoothly this bird will be able to fly.

L.A. County Reports First Death of Person Under 18, Coronavirus Cases Surge Over 48 Hours

Los Angeles County health officials reported on Tuesday four more coronavirus deaths including one person under the age of 18 from Lancaster, bringing total fatalities to 11 in the region.

"COVID-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director in a statement.

Another 128 new cases of the fast-moving virus were also reported as the total in the county racked up to 662 cases. Nearly 40% of the cases have been reported in the last 48 hours. Among the cases, about 18% of those testing positive have had to be hospitalized at some point.

Brentwood and West Hollywood both have the highest number of cases confirmed with 31 each. Officials have been identifying cases by neighborhood and communities of 25,000 or more as part of their daily update of the pandemic, but they note that there are positive cases across the entire county and the public should not think one location is safer than the other. "While public health is doing everything possible to mitigate the impact of this disease in our community, we can only flatten the curve if everyone takes social distancing seriously and adheres to all isolation and quarantine orders issued by our health officer," she said.

SpaceX Launch Put on Hold

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Hawthorne-based SpaceX has had to delay a rocket launch for the first time because of the Coronavirus. The Air Force's 45th Space Wing confirmed to Techcrunch Tuesday that SpaceX's SAOCOM launch has been put on "indefinite" hold because of the current crisis. The launch was scheduled to take place March 30, but Vandenberg has declared a public health emergency and the Air Force is limiting access to essential personnel and providing only essential services. It is not clear how many launches will be impacted by the virus. Techcrunch noted that SpaceX successfully launched 60 satellites last week. No COVID-19 cases have been reported on the base.

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Cadence

MyFitnessPal’s Tricia Han on How Cultural Understanding Strengthens Health Data

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Tricia Han
Image courtesy of Tricia Han

On this episode of Office Hours, MyFitnessPal CEO Tricia Han discusses her role revitalizing the company and redefining its mission during a time of uncertainty for the company.

“I love a good reboot,” she said. “Let me just say that. That's how I came to be at the company.”

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: Harbinger Taps Tesla Exec, REAL Messenger Gains Meta Director

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Harbinger Taps Tesla Exec, REAL Messenger Gains Meta Director
LA Tech ‘Moves’:

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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This Week in ‘Raises’: Bionaut Labs Grabs $43M, Embodied Lands $19.2M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Bionaut Labs Grabs $43M, Embodied Lands $19.2M
Modified by Joshua Letona

Robotics company Bionaut Labs raised fresh funding to advance its first-in-class micro-robotic technology and remove the barriers to treat rare and debilitating diseases, while digital pathology company PictorLabs launched out of stealth and will use its funding to continue developing an AI-powered virtual staining platform and accelerate clinical research to improve patient outcomes.

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