Silicon Valley And Big Tech Elites Say Open Up. Cost Burden Would Be Mostly Black And Poor

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Written by Ann Brown
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Silicon Valley and big tech elites say open up. The cost burden, however, would be mostly on Black people and the poor, experts say. Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is taking on the workhorse heavy pickup truck market with his latest electric vehicle. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is calling for the reopening of America. Not tomorrow or next week, but “now.” He recently tweeted, “FREE AMERICA NOW.” 

He’s not alone. Many execs in Silicon Valley want the U.S. economy to restart right away. Shaun Maguire, a venture capitalist partner at Sequoia Capital, tweeted in response to Musk, “I’m with you Elon. The world isn’t black and white. If you have a comorbidity (or live with someone who does) then stay home. Otherwise get back to work.”

Easy for them to say. The people most at risk will continue to be Black people and the poor.

Making up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans continue to have the highest proportion of coronavirus cases. However, counties with higher Black populations account for more than half of all covid-19 cases and almost 60 percent of deaths, a recent study found, CNN reported. 

In Silicon Valley, Black people make up 2 percent of Santa Clara County and 2 percent of the covid-19 cases but 6 percent of the reported deaths, NBC Bay Area News reported. 

With the reopening of America, Black people will be most likely be ones most affected. Not that Silicon Valley and major tech execs seem to care or notice.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has been mobilizing “a small army of tech elites behind reopening society,” The San Francisco Gate reported. He and other wealthy tech investors and venture capitalists are pushing for an end to shelter-in-place orders.

Musk has characterized the stay-at-home orders as “fascist” and “forcibly imprisoning” people in their homes. He has spoken out about “the impact of the Bay Area’s strict shelter-in-place orders’ impact on his Fremont, Calif., factory’s ability to produce cars,” The San Francisco Gate reported. 

Other tech bigwigs are agreeing with Musk.

“Time to free us for the sake of progress,” wrote investor Adam Draper, 

Some in the tech world have been more cautious. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said recently, “While there are massive societal costs from the current shelter-in-place restrictions, I worry that reopening certain places too quickly, before infection rates have been reduced to very minimal levels, will almost guarantee future outbreaks and even worse economic outcomes.”

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.

Trump’s announced in mid-April his new “Opening The Country” Council. Its members include prominent names from Wall Street, the sports world, and a who’s who of Silicon Valley’s big tech CEOs as well as other business and thought leaders.

On the council are such Silicon Valley heavyweights as Musk, Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai of Google (Alphabet Inc), Larry Ellison and Safra Catz of Oracle Corp., Intel Corp.’s Bob Swan, Cisco Systems’ Chuck Robbins, and Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber.