Summary List PlacementAn 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.”Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here’s what it’s like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak