Google And Others Step Up To Help With Coronavirus Containment Effort

With the coronavirus contagion in the United States reaching new heights, as it becomes the country leading the pandemic in confirmed cases, more and more public and private citizens are looking at what they can do to offer assistance in this challenging time.

With small businesses suffering significantly in the wake of the coronavirus economic fallout, Alphabet Inc, Google, is extending $340 million in ad credits to small and mid-size businesses with active Google ad accounts as part of an $800 million coronavirus response package, the company announced Friday.

As part of the package, Google is also providing a $200 million investment fund that will help NGOs and financial institutions provide small businesses with capital, $250 million in advertising grants to assist the World Health Organization and government agencies disseminate information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers, and additional financial aid to help augment production capacity for life-saving equipment, including face masks and ventilators.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will also give $3.7 million to a Seattle-area public health agency, several local foundations, a handful of homeless service providers, and more in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funding arises from a previously announced $5 million commitment to the Seattle region. The foundation will offer $1 million to Public Health “to help the agency disseminate timely and accurate information,” as well as establish temporary housing or services for less worrisome patients and people experiencing homelessness.

“The pandemic feels like a universal experience, but we have to recognize that not all of us will experience it equally,” Gates said in a statement. “By supporting local community response efforts, we can help make sure that, in this moment of crisis, we’re not leaving the most vulnerable behind.”

Bill Gates has warned about the dangers of a pandemic contagion since 2015 when he gave a TED talk. The Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist recounted lessons learned from Western Africa’s 2014 Ebola virus crisis and warned that the U.S. and other countries were not ready for the future pandemic that was going to hit them.

“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said. “Not missiles, but microbes.”

For investors looking to use ETFs to get into the two big tech giants Google and Microsoft, the Select Sector SPDR Technology ETF (XLK) and the iShares Dow Jones US Technology ETF (IYW) have healthy allocations of the stocks.

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