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We’re having a Zoom Fireside chat with the CTO of hiyacar Marc Roberts. We’ll be discussing running a car share co. in London during the coronavirus outbreak and some of the articles below. We’d love to have you on the call.


Elon Musk defies California’s coronavirus ‘shelter-in-place’ order and keeps the Tesla factory open. He tells employees it will be “totally ok” if workers want to stay home and the “coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself.”  LINK

  • FLASHBACK:  Elon Musk obeys Chinese order and shuts down Shanghai factory over coronavirus fears. LINK

The Chinese government sent Tesla 10,000 highly coveted masks, cases of disinfectants, thermometers, and other materials as well as provided catering to ensure their Shanghai Gigafactory re-open the first working day after the Lunar New Year break. LINK

  • FLASHBACK: Mayor of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, says 5 million people left the city before travel restrictions were imposed on January 23, 2020. The cities outside Hubei province that were top destinations for trips from Wuhan between Jan. 10 and Jan. 24 were Chongqing, Beijing, and Shanghai. LINK

PATIENT 1

German auto supplier Webasto disputes media reports linking it to Italy’s coronavirus outbreak. In January the roof-systems maker was hit with an outbreak that infected 16 employees but was contained. Webasto’s efforts had been held up as an example of how to stop the virus through rapid testing and isolation. Virologists at the Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan, however, have tested the sequences of the virus in Italy. They closely match those from the Webasto outbreak, Massimo Galli, head of infectious diseases at the hospital, told the Washington Post. Webasto questions that conclusion because the Chinese and German employees who contracted the virus in January never traveled to Italy.  LINK

  • FLASHBACK: From The Wall Street Journal: Europe’s first major Covid-19 outbreak started when a Chinese employee visited the Webasto’s headquarters to attend a training seminar late January. Before the Shanghai resident left for Germany, her parents—who live in Wuhan, the source of the original epidemic—had visited her. Initially, Bavarian health officials didn’t think it was necessary to shut down Webasto’s offices, but the CEO ordered the closure to protect employees against the virus—an account confirmed by Bavarian officials. LINK  (If you have a WSJ Subscription LINK ) 
  • FLASHBACK: From MIT Technology Review: Gene sleuths are tracking the coronavirus outbreak as it happens and Genetic data shows that countries are getting hit with multiple introductions of the virus. “According to the genetic data, the Munich event could be linked to a decent part of the overall European outbreak, which includes more than 3,000 cases in Italy.” LINK
  • FLASHBACK: From the “The New England Journal of Medicine… “A 33-year-old otherwise healthy German businessman (Patient 1) became ill with a sore throat, chills, and myalgias on January 24, 2020. The following day, a fever of 39.1°C (102.4°F) developed, along with a productive cough. By the evening of the next day, he started feeling better and went back to work on January 27. Before the onset of symptoms, he had attended meetings with a Chinese business partner at his company near Munich on January 20 and 21. The business partner, a Shanghai resident, had visited Germany between January 19 and 22. During her stay, she had been well with no signs or symptoms of infection but had become ill on her flight back to China, where she tested positive for 2019-nCoV on January 26.” LINK

VENTILATORS 

  • GM and Ford are in talks with Trump admin to make ventilators. A Ford spokesperson said the firm “stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment.” A GM spokesperson told the Financial Times that Barra was in talks with the Trump administration “to help find solutions” in response to the pandemic. We are already studying how we can potentially support the production of medical equipment like ventilators,”  LINK
  • Musk said on Twitter that Tesla factories would be used to make ventilators “if there’s a shortage.” Minutes later, when told about hospitals across the US that were running out of ventilators, he questioned whether there was a shortage at all. LINK
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio  made a direct plea to Elon Musk to produce ventilators to help alleviate a shortage at hospitals gearing up to combat COVID-19. LINK

Uber shares jumped 29% after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sought to reassure investors Thursday morning, saying that if Uber’s ride business declined 80% this year compared to 2019, the company would still have $4 billion in cash on Dec. 31. The reason: about two-thirds of Uber’s costs, most notably insurance, disappear when trips disappear, Uber executives have said this week. LINK


Public transit ridership plummeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand down roughly 73% in Canada and 62% in the US, according to statistics compiled by Transit (updated in real-time): transitapp.com/coronavirus


Coronavirus boosts radio listenership as commuters rely on cars. The coronavirus pandemic has led to noticeable shifts in the way U.S. consumers listen to the radio, either as people work from home or shun public transportation while going to work, according to a survey commissioned by radio broadcaster Cumulus Media/Westwood One. LINK


New York City’s ban of electric bicycles has been shelved to help support food delivery during the coronavirus crisis. The city will allow delivery workers to use illicit e-bikes as the restaurant industry shifts to takeout and delivery-only LINK

Anthony Barba

About Anthony Barba

As the founder of mobility as a marketing consultancy pumpkin, Anthony helps brands utilize transportation to increase their competitive advantage & create new revenue streams. once gave TEDx talk on how the rise of the mafia in las vegas is connected to t