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.
- 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 indefinitelyupload.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 AngelesNavy doctors from USNS Mercy perform joint replacement surgery in Vietnam during Pacific Partnership 2015
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 fightupload.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.
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Andrew Peterson<p>Andrew Peterson is the co-founder and former chief executive of Signal Sciences, a web application security platform that he founded in 2014 and <a href="https://dot.la/signal-science-snapped-up-for-775m-in-big-l-a-saas-exit-2647256430.html" target="_self">was acquired in 2020 by Fastly in a $775 million deal</a>. Signal Sciences protects web applications from attacks and data breaches for clients like Duo Security, Under Armor and DoorDash.</p><p>Prior to starting Signal Sciences, Peterson worked at Etsy, helping the online marketplace with international growth as a group project manager. Etsy <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/3056900/how-three-ex-etsy-employees-turned-their-old-employer-into-a-consumer" target="_blank">reportedly became </a>one of Signal Sciences's first customers. Peterson has also served stints as health information management officer at the Clinton Foundation and as a senior product specialist at Google.</p>
Ara Mahdessian<p>Ara Mahdessian is the co-founder of ServiceTitan, a SaaS product for managing a home services business.</p><p>The inspiration for ServiceTitan, Mahdessian's first company, came from watching his parents start their own businesses in building and plumbing, only to struggle with the logistics behind keeping them running, he <a href="https://www.inc.com/magazine/201906/emily-canal/servicetitan-immigrant-inclusion-diversity-best-workplaces-2019.html" target="_blank">told Inc in 2019</a>. Mahdessian and his co-founder Vahe Kuzoyan met while in college, and worked on several consulting projects before starting ServiceTitan, in hopes of aiding small business owners like their parents.</p>
Evan Spiegel<p>Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., the Venice-based company known for its app Snapchat. He's also one of the youngest billionaires in the world, launching Snapchat while still an undergraduate at Stanford. </p><p>SnapChat, the company's app, has recently been taking on rival TikTok <a href="https://dot.la/snap-spotlight-2649022645.html" data-linked-post="2649022645" target="_blank">with a new feature</a> and a program meant to attract creators to its platform. And it is been at the center of a larger national debate on the power of big tech. </p>
Spencer Rascoff<p>Spencer Rascoff is the founder of several companies, including dot.LA. He started his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, later leaving to co-found travel website Hotwire. After serving as vice president of lodging at Expedia, he went on to found Zillow, an online real estate marketplace that went public in 2011.</p><p>Rascoff's most recent project is Pacaso, a marketplace for buying, selling and co-owning a second home.</p>
Tim Ellis<p>Tim Ellis is the co-founder and chief executive of Relativity Space, an autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellite constellations. He is the youngest member on the National Space Council Users Advisory Group and serves on the World Economic Forum as a "technology pioneer."</p><p>Before founding Relativity Space, Ellis studied aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California and interned at Masten Space Systems and Blue Origin, where he worked after graduation. He was a propulsion engineer and brought metal 3D printing in-house to the company.</p>
Travis Schneider<p>Travis Schneider is the co-founder and co-chief executive of PatientPop, a practice growth platform for healthcare providers. He founded the company with Luke Kervin in 2014. <br><br>The two have founded three companies together, including ShopNation, a fashion shopping engine that was later acquired by the Meredith Commerce Network.</p>
Luke Kervin<p>Luke Kervin is the other co-founder and co-chief of PatientPop. He is a serial entrepreneur — his first venture was Starbrand Media, which was acquired by Popsugar in May 2008. <br><br>Kervin and Schneider then founded ShopNation, and when it was acquired in 2012, Kervin served as the general manager and vice president at the Meredith Commerce Network for a few years before leaving to found PatientPop.</p><p>Kervin had the idea for PatientPop when he and his wife were expecting their first child, he told <a href="http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-luke-kervin-patientpop-santa-monica/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">VoyageLA</a>. They were frustrated with how the healthcare system wasn't focused on the consumers it was meant to serve. So in 2014, he and Schneider created PatientPop.</p>
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