CULVER CITY (CBSLA) — Technology executive Peter Diamandis issued an apology for hosting a conference at his Culver City offices that turned into a super-spreader event.
Two dozen attendees, staff members, and Diamandis himself all tested positive for COVID-19 in the days following the January conference.READ MORE: At Least 15 People Killed In Multivehicle Wreck In Imperial County
“I thought creating a COVID ‘Immunity Bubble’ for a small group in a TV studio setting was possible,” Diamandis wrote in a blog post on his site. “I was wrong.”
The conference in question was Diamandis’ annual Abundance 360, bringing together entrepreneurs and CEOs to discuss technology like AI, robotics, VR/AR and synthetic biology. This year’s conference was initially scheduled to take place at a hotel, but they instead opted to use the XPRIZE offices in Culver City, with hundreds of attendees joining remotely.
But with many people asking to attend in-person, Diamandis said they worked to create an “immunity bubble” by requiring attendees to submit to a rapid COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to arrival, again when they arrived at the venue, and again every morning of the production. Diamandis said all people involved in the in-person conference was tested a minimum of five times over four days. Masks were required between venues, but not in the studio, and doctors, immunity boosters and regenerative treatments were also provided at the conference.READ MORE: Large Commercial Blaze Erupts In South LA
Positive tests began to emerge two days after the conference, including 12 attendees, four faculty, and half the staff. Notably, none of the audiovisual/studio team – who all wore masks throughout the production – came up positive.
Diamandis said the episode also illustrated the high risk of false negatives from rapid tests when it comes to Type O blood like his own, especially when it comes to the discussion over safely reopening schools. Masks, vaccines and physical distance are the only three options that work reliably, according to Diamandis.
“As a scientist, engineer and medical person, I believed we were using the very best that science had to offer. And I trusted that an immunity bubble was a ‘real thing,’ Diamandis said in his apology. “I no longer believe that.”MORE NEWS: Caught On Video: Large Tree Branch Falls On Top Of Band Playing At Mar Vista Park
As an apparent reparation, Diamandis said he will make a $100,000 donation toward Frontline Families Fund to help support the families of healthcare workers who have lost their lives to COVID-19.