One investor may fly to Idaho with or without family. A doctor in a Colorado ski town is soothing wealthy clients who want a cure. And one New Yorker called up the hospital with his name on it.
Like everyone across the U.S., the rich are bracing for a deadly coronavirus outbreak. Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot Inc., watched President Donald Trump’s press conference and wondered if the media was overplaying the risk — but he also made two well-placed phone calls from his winter outpost in North Palm Beach.
One was to a top executive of NYU Langone Health, and the other was to a top scientist there. Both were reassuring.
“What I’ve been told by people who are smarter than me in disease is, ‘As of right now it’s a bad flu,’” said Langone, an 84-year-old who loves capitalism so much that he wrote a book called “I Love Capitalism!” He plans to come back to New York this month for an appointment. If he happens to feel sick, he will go to NYU Langone, and said he’d expect no special treatment.
Some billionaires, bankers and other members of the U.S. elite are calm, others are getting anxious and everyone is washing their hands. But the rich can afford to prepare for a pandemic with perquisites, like private plane rides out of town, calls with world-leading experts and access to luxurious medical care.
“It’s been a full-on war-room situation over here,” said Jordan Shlain, an internist and managing partner of Private Medical, a high-end concierge service. The company is procuring hundreds of full-body coverings for work that includes visits in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and New York. “We have to beg, borrow or steal. Well, not steal — beg, borrow and pay.”