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Daily COVID-19 Updates: May 12

May 12, 2020
Tesla Reopens Plant, Against Local Orders; Toyota Predicts Depressed 2021 Profits

In coronavirus news today, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases warned a Senate committee of “needless suffering and death” if states and counties lift quarantine orders too hastily. In a surreal twist, Dr. Fauci testified from quarantine himself: He and other members of the White House’s COVID-19 task force have entered self-quarantine after a White House staff member tested positive for the contagious disease.

According to the Associated Press, 17 states currently rolling back or allowing quarantine orders to expire were doing so despite not having first met benchmarks established by the White House in its “Opening Up America Again” plan. That plan, issued April 17, calls for states to deregulate virus prevention efforts in phases separated by 14-day periods to establish the virus is not resurging.

Everyone is anxious to get back to work—perhaps especially Elon Musk, who took his vocal opposition to COVID-19 quarantines a step further today by resuming operations at Tesla Motors’s Fremont, California assembly plant a week before the expected opening date. If Fauci is right, and the country is not yet ready to return fully to normal, moves like Musk’s may be seen in hindsight as mistakes.

Toyota Reports Financial Year Earnings, Forecasts 80% Drop in 2021 Profit

Toyota Motor Corp. broke from the pack of auto manufacturers today. While other automakers like GM and Ford have declined to issue predictions for next year owing to the chaos of the coronavirus, Toyota announced today that they anticipated their profits for the financial year 2021 would be 80% lower than normal. Toyota’s financial year ends on March 31.

At a media briefing, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said that the virus “has dealt us a bigger shock than the 2008 global financial crisis.” According to Operating Officer Kenta Kon, the spread of COVID-19 has already let to a decrease in net revenue of $3.5 billion and a loss of $1.4 billion in operating income. Read the full story here.

Tesla Reopens Fremont Assembly

Despite an order from the local health officials to remain closed, Tesla Motors’s Fremont, California electric-vehicle assembly plant roared back to life on Monday, May 11. In a tweet, CEO Elon Musk said he would be on the assembly line himself.

Alameda County officials issued a statement that they had “notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations” and would use “the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the Order in the past” to deal with the situation. Tesla Motors has already filed a lawsuit against the County for what it says are illegitimate orders issued against an essential business.

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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