Coronavirus Updates: Mercy Hospital Ship Arrives in L.A., Gates Warns About COVID-19 Fight, SMMUSD Closes Indefinitely

Coronavirus Updates: Mercy Hospital Ship Arrives in L.A., Gates Warns About COVID-19 Fight, SMMUSD Closes Indefinitely

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.

Today:

  • Coronavirus cases surge in L.A. County, 5 deaths reported
  • Navy hospital ship Mercy enters the Port of Los Angeles
  • Bill Gates warns there's "no middle ground" in coronavirus fight
  • Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District tells parents it will remain closed indefinitely

    Coronavirus cases surge in L.A. County, 5 deaths reported

    Los Angeles county officials reported a massive surge in coronavirus cases on Friday with 257 new cases and five deaths. That brings the total number of cases to 1,465 and 26 deaths due to the fast-spreading COVID-19.

    In less than a week the number of cases have tripled and with the spread unabated, officials shut down beaches and trailheads where crowds had been flocking.

    "The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable," Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. "We cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus."

    The county has a higher mortality rate than New York City, said Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director.

    Health officials have ramped up testing, but still only about 11,000 individuals have been tested far below New York. About 11% of those have tested positive.

    Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District tells parents it will remain closed indefinitely

    upload.wikimedia.org

    Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's Superintendent Ben Drati sent a letter to parents, guardians and staff on Thursday evening telling them that in accordance with directive from Gov. Newsom and county health and education officials that the district will remain closed until further notice with distance learning continuing. The school is also continuing its meal services for students at four school sites. -- Tami Abdollah

    Navy hospital ship Mercy enters the Port of Los Angeles

    Navy doctors from USNS Mercy perform joint replacement surgery in Vietnam during Pacific Partnership 2015

    upload.wikimedia.org

    Mayor Eric Garcetti was on hand to greet the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy as it arrived at the Port of Los Angeles to ease the crush of coronavirus patients expected to slam local hospitals. The ship, which departed from San Diego on Monday, will provide 1,000 hospital beds. The Mercy will also have doctors, nurses and other medical staff to accept patients who do not have COVID-19. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Garcetti have been warning residents to expect that the virus will not peak for a few weeks, and that a quarantine could last months as the state tries to get a handle on the crisis. There are 4,204 confirmed coronavirus cases in California, and 85 deaths as of late Thursday,

    Bill Gates warns there's "no middle ground" in coronavirus fight

    upload.wikimedia.org

    Bill Gates was a trending toping on Twitter on Friday after his appearance on a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The Microsoft co-founder cautioned that "there is no middle ground" in the fight against the novel coronavirus, calling for a coordinated effort to effectively shut down normal life across the United States to stop the spread of COVID-19 and minimize the long-term economic impact. Cooper did not mention President Trump by name, and Gates is traditionally careful not to delve into politics, but the question was a clear reference to the president's stated goal to return the country to normal by Easter Sunday, April 12, a little more than two weeks away. "No, it's not realistic," Gates said. "The numbers are still going up." He's calling for a 6-10 week nationwide quarantine.

    🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
    Image Source: Joby Aviation

    🔦 Spotlight

    Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

    For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

    Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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    Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
    Image Source: Discover LA

    In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

    Pickleball

    Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

    Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

    Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


    Escape Room

    Image Source: The Escape Game

    Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

    Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


    Day Trip to Catalina Island

    Image Source: Love Catalina

    Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

    Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


    Top Golf

    Image Source: Topgolf

    Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

    Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


    SoFi Stadium Tour

    Image Source: Discover LA

    A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

    Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


    Corporate Volunteering

    Image Source: L.A. Works

    Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

    Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


    Corporate Improv Sessions

    Image Source: Improv for the People

    A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

    Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

    🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
    Image Source: Paramount

    Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

    🔦 Spotlight

    Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

    Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

    The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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