UPDATED 23:15 EST / MARCH 10 2020

APPS

Two RSA Conference attendees test positive for coronavirus

Hacking and other security issues were the themes of this year’s RSA Conference, but it’s a new type of virus that the conference may be remembered: It turns out that at least two attendees of the conference were infected with the coronavirus.

COVID-19 cases aren’t exactly new at this point, butthe interesting part is that the two people diagnosed may have been infected at the conference or infected others there, though conference organizers are not exactly saying that.

“We recently learned that two individuals tested positive for COVID-19, who attended RSA Conference, which started on Monday February 24th,” the organizers said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we want to share this information with you so you can take necessary steps to monitor your own situation.

“To date, no official governing body has communicated with RSA Conference that these individuals had symptoms at the RSA Conference event or attended during the COVID-19 incubation period. We are in contact with the relevant health authorities to provide them with the necessary information to complete their investigation and are following their guidance on how to proceed.”

However, the incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 27 days, though more typically it’s two to 14 days. The RSA Conference went ahead despite concerns over coronavirus contagion.

To be fair, the contagion numbers in the U.S. were lower when the conference took place, but some other conferences canceled at around the same time. It’s not clear whether there is any legal liability involved.

The two confirmed RSA coronavirus cases are employees of security intelligence firm Exabeam Inc. The company said on Twitter that it’s unable to confirm whether their employees contracted the virus at the RSA Conference but warned anyone who came into contact with its staff to be vigilant in monitoring themselves for symptoms.

The spread of COVID-19 continues to dominate news, including the tech industry. After a record-breaking decline yesterday, markets recovered somewhat Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up almost 5%. The top five tech stocks were all up across the board, led by Apple Inc. at 7.2% and followed by Microsoft Corp. at 6.8%, Facebook Inc. at 5.1%, Alphabet Inc. at 4.9% and Amazon.com Inc. at 5.1%.

Meanwhile, more tech companies are taking additional precautions for employees. Today, Google reportedly told employees to work from home until at least April 10. Google also announced a new fund to enable temporary employees who show symptoms or are subject to quarantine to take paid sick leave.

Photo: Kevin Bocek/Flickr

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