An indoor conference hosted by a coronavirus vaccine entrepreneur resulted in at least 2 dozen infections

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Peter Diamandis, Founder & Executive Chairman, XPRIZE attends the Global Learning XPRIZE Foundation Grand-prize Awards at Google Playa Vista Office on May 15, 2019 in Playa Vista, California.

  • An indoor conference hosted by COVID-19 vaccine entrepreneur resulted in dozens of infections.
  • Peter Diamandis, who also was infected, hosted a mostly virtual conference with an in-studio audience last month.
  • “As a result, we felt awesome, we felt safe,” he wrote about the healthy safety preparation before the conference. “But I was wrong.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

An indoor conference was hosted by a coronavirus vaccine entrepreneur last month. Three weeks later, at least two dozen tested positive for COVID-19 – including the entrepreneur himself.

Tech executive Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of the XPrize Foundation, hosted a mostly virtual conference with an in-studio audience in Culver City, California.

“I thought creating a COVID ‘immunity bubble’ for a small group in a TV studio setting was possible,” Diamandis wrote in a post on his website. “I was wrong.”

Diamandis, who also co-founded the COVID-19 vaccine developer Covaxx, wrote that the guest list of the annual conference called Abundance 360, which usually gathers hundreds of entrepreneurs and CEOs, was reduced amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than 300 people were expected to participate in the event virtually.

However, the tech executive said his team was “inundated with requests” from members who wanted to attend in person, prompting Diamandis and his team to consider “a small group of our members (about 10%) to join in-person as a ‘studio audience.'”

“The question was, ‘Could we make it happen in a safe fashion?'” Diamandis wrote.

Attendees and staff were tested for COVID-19 prior, during, and after production, and the event had on-site physicians and immunity-boosting treatments. Masks were not mandated for the entirety of the conference, which Diamandis said was “definitely one of my biggest failings and one of the most important lessons learned.”

The conference is believed to have resulted in at least 24 infections less than a month later.

“As a result, we felt awesome, we felt safe,” he wrote about the preparation behind the conference. “But I was wrong.”

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The CDC director said the storming of the Capitol is likely a COVID-19 ‘surge event’ that will ‘have public health consequences’

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A pro-Trump mob breaks into the US Capitol building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.

  • Dr. Robert Redfield, the outgoing director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Friday that the mass riots at the US Capitol would likely be a COVID-19 “surge event.”
  • “These individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country right now,” he said. “So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event. This is an event that is going to have public health consequences.”
  • On January 7, the US recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic, and Redfield said that the numbers are likely to only increase.
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Dr. Robert Redfield, the outgoing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director under President Donald Trump, said on Friday that the mass riots at the US Capitol would likely be a COVID-19 “surge event” that could have repercussions nationwide.

In an interview with McClatchy, Redfield said the riot, which left five people dead, was a “very, very sad day” for the country, and expressed his concern that members of Congress and law enforcement officials may have been exposed to the coronavirus. After the pro-Trump mob breached the building, they roamed the hallways and majestic spaces inside the complex, ransacking offices and leaving litter throughout the building.

“I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event,” he said. “You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol.”

Redfield noted that after the riot, “these individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country.”¬†

“So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading event,” Redfield said. “This is an event that is going to have public health consequences.”

As the aftermath of the riots lingered in the minds of most Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the country in 2020, is reaching some of its most devastating highs yet.

Read more:¬†President-elect Biden expressed confidence his inauguration will be safe. A few hours later, Twitter warned there’s talk of another DC Capitol attack on January 17th.

On January 7, the US recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic, and Redfield expressed that the numbers are likely to only increase, despite the rollout of vaccines across the country.

“We haven’t hit the peak of the current surge,” he said. “Clearly, the amount of mortality we’re seeing, as many of us are trying to stress, is more than we saw on Pearl Harbor or 9/11, over and over and over again. That’s the state of the pandemic unfortunately we’re at right now.”

Redfield said that the biggest cause of the COVID-spread at the moment was unmasked citizens gathering together indoors, especially during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays.

“We’re going to continue to see mortality in the 2,500-5,000 a day range,” he stressed. “This is going to continue to get worse through January, and probably parts of February before we really start to turn the corner.”

Since the pandemic began in the US last year, nearly 22 million people have been infected and more than 369,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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