SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Saturday that California is enlisting technology industry titans Elon Musk and Tim Cook in his state’s coronavirus defense as he issued a warning about public gatherings.
Days after cryptically alluding to an unnamed tech executive who had offered help in manufacturing needed medical equipment, Newsom confirmed that Musk — the founder of California-based Tesla and SpaceX — is “working overtime” to produce ventilators. Musk pledged to procure 250,000 masks, Newsom said, while Apple CEO Cook committed to providing 1 million.
Newsom, speaking at a press conference, said those are two instances in an outpouring of support from the private and nonprofit sectors. He noted that Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar is repurposing ventilators, universities have offered up space and sports teams had conveyed that “you want our arena? You can have our arena.”
“It’s ennobling and it makes you feel like we truly can meet this moment,” Newsom said.
The federal government has continued to lend a hand, Newsom said, most recently by providing a set of medical field units that will add some 2,000 beds to California’s health care system. Newsom said the first unit had already arrived in Riverside.
Speaking during California’s first weekend under a statewide stay-at-home order, Newsom acknowledged that some residents had not heeded a moratorium on public gatherings.
“The young people who are at the beaches thinking it’s a party: Time to grow up. Time to wake up. Time to recognize it’s not just about the old folks, it’s about your impact on their lives,” Newsom said. “If you need to exercise, exercise. Just don’t do it in a public setting.”
Earlier in the day, California reported 1,224 confirmed cases and 23 deaths so far. Newsom said the state has 21 million masks in reserves after distributing 10 million last week.
While Newsom did not rule out the possibility of restricting access to outdoor spaces, he said he hoped that would not be necessary. He reiterated that officials are broadly relying on social pressure to prod people into limiting their contact, rather than expanded enforcement like the state’s ability to “shut down businesses that are abusive.”
Newsom noted that the order is still relatively new and has not permeated some communities but he said a media campaign is seeking to inform more people.