I just got off a conference call with 200+ community leaders (hosted by Silicon Slopes and Clint Betts) and wanted to share a few of my takeaways.
1. Within our state we have the innovation and ability to produce 50,000+ diagnostic tests PER DAY for the coronavirus. These tests are made by Co-Diagnostics, and they are being used in Europe but haven’t been approved by the FDA yet. Co-Diagnostics is a publicly traded company based in Utah. Some CEOs on the call were calling for “test now, ask forgiveness later.” Co-Diagnostics representatives are understandably worried about going against the FDA. Leaders on the call vowed to put pressure on our state’s delegation in Washington to get these tests approved asap.
2. Leaders of Silicon Slopes — including Qualtrics’ Ryan Smith and Domo, Inc. Josh James — have contributed money to the tune of $1.2 million toward helping during this crisis. This money could potentially fund the tests described above once they are approved. The tests are valued at $10 each.
3. Andrew K Smith of Four Foods Group is leading the way in the restaurant industry. Restaurant lobbies in Salt Lake County will be closed after tonight. Utah County is likely to follow. He shared that crowds at his restaurants have dropped significantly in the past five days. On Friday, diners were down 25 percent, then 38 percent on Saturday, and 50 percent today. “Our state is well ahead of everybody else on flattening the curve,” Andrew said. He also shared the pressure he feels from both sides. If they stay open, they can help feed those who are supporting society during the crisis. He fed 700 Costco workers on Saturday, for example. But he and other restauranteurs want to be good community members and stall the spread of the virus. Keeping drive-thrus and delivery service available will help him and other restaurant owners keep their employees busy and … employed!
4. Utah is also leading the nation in digital learning. Sydnee Dickson, State Superintendent of Public Schools, said we are 2-5 years ahead of other states in being prepared for online learning.
5. Economically, Representative John Curtis says they are studying the pressure points and looking at stimulus bills.
6. State Superintendent Sydnee Dixon told us she is working with the federal government for potential waivers on both food assessment and academic requirements so we can keep students and teachers both safe and educated.
7. Rep. Curtis shared mortality rates of COVID-19, which include a 15 percent mortality rate for those 80 years and older. For 70-79 years old, mortality is 8 percent. For ages 60-69, it’s 3.4 percent. For 50-59, mortality is 1 percent. For 40-49, mortality is 0.4 percent. For 20-39, the mortality is 0.2 percent. For teenagers and children, everyone is surviving.
I will share more as I learn more. For now, I AM PROUD OF OUR STATE and I am hopeful. This crisis is bringing us together. All of our businesses will be affected and some of our community members will be sick, but we can do our part to find solutions, to look for the positive, and to celebrate our victories.