Billionaire Roundup: Quarantine Edition

By on April 13, 2020 in ArticlesBillionaire News

Well, party people, the coronavirus is sweeping the nation and I don't mean this in a good way. We've all got to do our part to flatten the curve and help stop the spread of the insidious virus. Stay home. If you need groceries or medicine, send one member of your household out to get it. This is not the time for family trips to the grocery store, park, hiking trails, or really anywhere outside of your home. In the meantime, our favorite billionaires are still having an impact on things whether that's a tone-deaf Instagram post from a nearly $600 million yacht, a temper tantrum over coronavirus curfews, a new billionaire in the making from the potential vaccine, or, you know, Quicken's Dan Gilbert trying to do more good in Detroit. Buckle up and adjust your face masks, this is the latest edition of the Billionaire Roundup.

David Geffen Faces Backlash For "Self-Isolation" Instagram Post On $590 Million Super Yacht In Caribbean

Billionaire David Geffen has been catching some flack recently for an Instagram post. Recently, Geffen posted photos of his $590 million superyacht in the Caribbean. He captioned it: "Sunset last night. Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I hope everyone is staying safe." He faced immediate backlash, with people calling his post shameful and out of touch. His yacht, the Rising Sun was built for Larry Ellison. The yacht comes with a gym, movie theatre, and wine cellar. It has been in the Caribbean since mid-November sailing back and forth between Grenada, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines since February.  But hey, he's been an obscenely wealthy man for three decades,  is there any way he could isolate that wouldn't be a bit out of touch from regular people? In the aftermath of the backlash, Geffen appears to have deleted his Instagram account.

Dan Gilbert (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Egyptian Billionaire Threatens Suicide If Coronavirus Curfew Not Lifted After Two Weeks

Egypt's second-richest man, Naguib Sawiris has threatened to commit suicide if measures, specifically a curfew, to combat the spread of Covid-19 aren't lifted after two weeks. He would also like workers to return to factories at the end of the April 8 quarantine deadline to prevent an economic collapse. In an interview, the billionaire went on to misrepresent the data about the virus saying that "it only kills 1% of patients, who are mostly elderly people." Egypt's health ministry has reported 656 confirmed cases, including 41 deaths, and 151 people who recovered. Sawiris suggested that employees sleep in the factories and not return home. Sawiris' comments have been widely criticized. He's been called on to donate to efforts to fight the virus. So far, he's resisted, saying a large proportion of his wealth is invested in gold which he called "an insurance policy against crises."

CEO Of Drug Maker Behind Coronavirus Vaccine Sees Net Worth Jump, Joins Billionaire Ranks

Stephan Bancel, the French-born, 47-year-old, CEO of Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotech firm Moderna Therapeutics is a brand new billionaire. How did this happen? His company announced that it was starting phase two human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, which sent stocks soaring nearly 12% higher and propelling his net worth above $1 billion. Moderna's vaccine is the first one in the world to begin human trials. These began March 16 and the company is expected to move to phase two of human trials in the spring or early summer. The vaccine was developed with researchers from the National Institutes of Health and is one of more than three dozen vaccines in development. Bancel has his MBA from Harvard Business School as well as two master's degrees in engineering from Ecole Centrale Paris and the University of Minnesota. He's been with Moderna Therapeutics since 2011.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert Wants To Save Detroit From The Coronavirus

Quicken Loans founder and Detroit enthusiast Dan Gilbert is pulling together his resources in case Detroit becomes the latest coronavirus hots spot. The billionaire is a Detroit native and he's been key in the city's resurgence since 2010. He's purchased and renovated dozens of properties in downtown Detroit and moved his employees into them. This has let Microsoft, Twitter, and Chrysler to also invest in Detroit. Gilbert now controls more than 100 companies and has committed them to offer millions of dollars of financial support and services for the city. Detroit has a large share of residents living below the poverty line – about 37% – making its population of 670,000 is particularly vulnerable. The Quicken Loans Community fund purchased a machine, which will allow it to produce 500,000 surgical masks per week for local healthcare workers when it arrives from China next month The fund, along with Gilbert's family foundation, also announced a $1.2 million donation to help coronavirus efforts in Detroit.