Word got out here that nasal swabs were the only thing standing between Northern California and a lot of coronavirus testing, and people with a talent for figuring out things began to figure things out. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, flew a plane full of medical supplies from China to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Centre, and some functional though less-than-ideal nasal swabs were happily among them.

Chris Kawaja, the owner of a chemical company with dealings in China, found another off-brand Chinese nasal swab supplier, and messaged them. “I said, ‘Hey, do you have these things?’”, says Kawaja. “And this woman came right back and said, ‘Yeah, I have 250,000.’” These swabs were the real deal, but before Kawaja could nab them the Chinese woman sent another message to say, “Some guy in Houston just took 200,000 of them.”..

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