Coronavirus Updates: SoCal Tech Joins Forces for Hospitals; Elon Musk's Threat to Leave California

Coronavirus Updates: SoCal Tech Joins Forces for Hospitals; Elon Musk's Threat to Leave California

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:

  • Elon Musk's tweet storm catches the attention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
  • How L.A. Startups Are Collaborating to Get Aid To Local Hospitals

How L.A. Startups Are Collaborating to Get Aid To Local Hospitals

Rachel Uranga

Jiake Liu is the founder of a startup outdoor furniture company, but lately he feels like he's running a second company one that's helping supply local hospitals with thousands of protective masks and, in the process, rallying Los Angeles' tech community.

Liu started SoCal Tech for Hospitals in early March with the goal of raising $60,000 to purchase 30,000 masks for hospitals facing shortages. He's now helped raise nearly $200,000, delivered 50,000 hospital-grade masks and is looking to up the ante with the region's vast tech community to do good beyond the pandemic.

Over the past months, he's enrolled some of the most well-known startups in town to pitch in for the logistical effort of distributing the masks. After the workday ends, Liu jumps on the phone with other founders to orchestrate the effort.

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Elon Musk's tweet storm catches the attention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

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Elon Musk's Twitter rant over the weekend that he wants to move Tesla and SpaceX out of California so he can resume production prompted some notable responses.

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) responded to the post by tweeting "F*ck Elon Musk." And on Monday morning, the billionaire entrepreneur got some support from Washington. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he agrees with Musk, calling him "one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve health issues so that he can open quickly and safely."

Musk has been a vocal critic of lockdown measures in California, which he has called "de facto house arrest." He threatened to move his companies to Nevada or Texas on Saturday after an Alameda County Health officer said she wants Tesla's Freemont factory to remain closed for the time being as the state slowly reopens manufacturing sites. The tweet storm came just a few days after Musk vowed to sell all of his homes and most of his belongings in an effort to obtain what he called "freedom."

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Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Rams, is confident the team can open their new $5 billion stadium in Inglewood against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13th. He said he is encouraged by what he has seen since players starting reporting to training camp on July 21st.

"We've all probably expected the worst in terms of the number of positive tests and while we've had some, I think the percentages have been much lower than those in the general population," Demoff told dot.LA on a Tuesday panel about the future of sports. "I think there's excitement that once we get going, hopefully we can keep it moving."

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Fred Turner, the 25-year-old founder of Curative Inc., is the man behind L.A.'s push to bring universal testing to the region. But, he has bigger plans.

Turner, an Oxford dropout, just landed a deal with the Air Force to test military worldwide and he's now eyeing national expansion for his startup. By the end of this month, the company he started months ago is expected to pump out more than a million test kits a week.

"We are a strange company because our goal is to essentially put ourselves out of business," Turner said.

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