back to article California tech industry gets its first big coronavirus hit: RSA Conference attendee infected, in serious condition

The deadly novel coronavirus has reached California’s tech sector with the news that an engineer who attended the RSA Conference in San Francisco last month has now tested positive for COVID-19 – and is in a serious condition. The 45-year-old employee of Exabeam attended the annual security meet-up between February 24 and 28, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    media hype

    “The WISP industry is a strong and resilient one. We’re dedicated and fearless. Attending WISPAMERICA sends a strong signal to others in the

    I believe the virus situation is somewhat overblown by the media, but the arrogant tossers who came up with that statement are the kind of people who go round killing innocent people - like sailing unsinkable ships into icebergs, fitting leaking O rings onto space shuttles, or deploying poorly tested software into commercial airliners.

    I would love to laugh if they had a major outbreak at the conference, but that would be rather in bad taste.

    1. Blazde

      Re: media hype

      "The novel coronavirus is not to be sniffed at"

      To be fair to them, they have cut through the crap and identified really the first and only thing one should avoid doing with a deadly respiratory virus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: media hype

      Rather more than bad taste. Any major outbreak would spread far beyond the attendees at the conference, and would put more stress on the overall health care system and economy. Not good!

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      If

      only there were some form of worldwide communications network that could take the place of these conferences. You could even make it wireless to make it even more convenient. I've heard a rumour of one but I suppose these WISP folks know better.

  2. Grunchy

    Its worse than you think

    The virus has anywhere from 2-6% death rate, which is terrible, but about 12% get “severe” symptoms, possibly leading to the need of a medically-induced coma, as in the case mentioned. So it’s a lot more life-threatening than you might think.

    Probably people need to be shown footage of patient’s suffering so they can become patient enough to wash (with soap) for the recommended minimum 20 seconds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its worse than you think

      The problem with these headline percentages is that they are based on unknown numbers.

      If 1000 people test positive, and 20 die, that's claimed to be a 2% death rate, but how do they know that there aren't actually 10,000 people infected of whom 9000 have mild symptoms and who just took an aspirin and didn't get tested? Without extensive and complete testing of everyone, which is pretty much impossible in the time available, we can only say that the headline figures are worst-case.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Its worse than you think

        But that is true of every single disease.

        The estimated fatality rate of the flu is something like 0.1%. But just like with COVID-19, that rate is based on diagnosed cases of the flu, with some extrapolation I believe for the mild unreported cases.

        Same for even something like Ebola with an average across the various strains of something like 50%.

        You can only report on the data you have.

        Therefore whether the true rate is 0.5% for COVID-19, or 0.01% for the flu, or 20% for Ebola, the point is, it appears at least 10 times worse than the flu, whatever the 'true' rate is.

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Its worse than you think

      "about 12% get “severe” symptoms, possibly leading to the need of a medically-induced coma

      And then the ones in the USA have to pay the medical bills for that. So about 12% of those infected will lose their homes and be in debt for the rest of their lives.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Its worse than you think

        Chatting to a doctor friend yesterday about mortality rates (the estimated figure in the UK press is about 1% rather than 2-6% you quote, but whatever).

        She pointed out that was based on the availability of ventilators and other emergency care facilities, which is not going to hold up for long. So "severe symptoms" figure is probably the more relevant one to note. This conversation caused me to reassess a few things.

      2. Imhotep

        Re: Its worse than you think

        Simp!y not true for the overwhelming majority of Americans.

      3. Velv Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Its worse than you think

        Then they shouldn’t continue to vote for parties that are trying to perpetuate the private health industry and prevent medical cover for all.

        Turkeys and thanksgiving.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

    Note the significantly less steep slope on the line for Japan:

    Twitter: "Here's the coronavirus data, overlayed with the dates offset by the amounts shown. One of these countries is not like the rest. Everyone else will be Italy in 9-14 days time."

    1. Blazde

      Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

      They're wearing masks, to a man: https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200303041657-01-coronavirus-tokyo-japan-0303-exlarge-169.jpg

      While we keep being told wearing masks is pointless because we can't be trusted to wear them properly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

        Those who are infected should wear masks to avoid spreading the virus through coughs.

        For healthy people to wear simple masks is pointless, they get damp in 15 minutes and provide a nice cozy petri dish environment for any bugs that do land on them. They then get transferred to the wearer when they touch the mask. Wearing a proper filtered surgical mask might help, but those need to be reserved for health professionals.

        The current advice to use common sense and wash hands frequently is the most sensible thing to follow.

        1. Blazde

          Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

          Most of them are not wearing 'simple masks'. They're wearing decent masks with valves. Carefully designed ones which thousands of people in numerous dangerous jobs use daily without any of the problems you mention.

          The UK government thankfully does have pandemic preparedness stockpiles of what they term respirators (decent masks) for health professionals, stashed somewhere under the half billion £s worth of Tamiflu. Appreciate in other countries they may well need reserving from the open market. France notably so far.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

            Most of them are not wearing 'simple masks'. They're wearing decent masks with valves.

            Not in the pictures all over the press. Health professionals are wearing such masks, most ordinary people are wearing paper masks with elastic straps ,which aren't much more useful than a knotted hanky. They may work against dust and city pollution, they are useless against viruses.

      2. Conscious and verbal

        Masks are not for stopping sneezes, they are to stop you touching your face

        Get some masks.

        1. ratfox Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Masks are not for stopping sneezes, they are to stop you touching your face

          Here's a tip: Rub your hands with chili peppers! It does nothing against the virus, but you learn really quick not to touch your face.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Masks are not for stopping sneezes, they are to stop you touching your face

            It also encourages washing your hands thoroughly before taking a leak.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

        A State of Emergency triggered by an otherwise containable outbreak getting out of control would be a Would-be-Dictator's Wet Dream.

      4. Cyril

        Re: What preventative measures Japan is using? Best for UK to follow their example

        In Japan they don't shake hands, they bow. With everyone wearing a mask, the sick are wearing masks.

        The two items of not shaking hands and the ill wearing masks account for a reduced spread of the virus.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The WISP industry is a strong and resilient one. We’re dedicated and fearless.

    This would make a great, great tombstone quote for all those that attend, catch and die. Make tombstones great again:

    Here lies X,

    fearless

    of

    loud and oftentimes

    distracting news coverage

    and

    circumstances

    And here lies, by his side

    his mother-in-law

    loved her so much

    he hugged her first time

    in his life

    and last

  5. Kane Silver badge

    "The WISP industry is a strong and resilient one..."

    For about 14 days, then YMMV.

  6. Conscious and verbal
    Facepalm

    Healthy people should wear masks to make it less likely they will touch their face.

    The idea is to wear a mask to keep your fingers away from your face. Assume your hands are filthy with the virus after any bus or train trip, after pumping gas (petrol) or using a public restroom (toilet)

    Wash your hands often, I will, but only a mask will protect you from your own hands

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Healthy people should wear masks to make it less likely they will touch their face.

      What about your eyes? What's stopping you from touching them? Better wear ski goggles too... /s

  7. Chromatix

    NetDEV and IETF conferences also cancelled

    They were both due to take place in Vancouver later this month. NetDEV has been postponed by 3 months; IETF plans to convert to a virtual conference with only remote attendance on this occasion. The next in-person IETF is likely to be in Madrid, 4 months hence.

  8. PaulKb

    Too late to notify due to commercial interest

    This delayed notification raises questions about these 2 commercial entities who do not seem to care or have concern about potential infection to their attendees:

    - why Exabeam did not disclose this news earlier, why they reacted only after Bloomberg published the news after the employee was put into a medically induced coma and ventilator.

    - why RSA Conference published the notification without much information and not naming Exabeam booth if they really wanted to alert the attendees.

    Looks like their management thought they could hide this news for their own commercial interest.

  9. VibhorTyagi

    Engineer AI To Track Spread Of Coronavirus

    This is nothing to be shocked about, honestly! They couldn't have postponed the meet a bit further, right! They have now managed to engineer AI that can track the spread of the coronavirus in real time. Shocking that the tech heads couldn't anticipate this from a mile off.

  10. EduQuint

    What about Microsoft Build 2020 conference, to be held in Seattle, WA, in mid May.

    Seattle region had several deaths related to the Coronaviurus and Microsoft did not cancel it yet!

    1. A random security guy

      No one going to an MS conference will get infected. Professional courtesy.

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