Many San Francisco millionaires have become famous for investing in special places to resist scenarios like viral outbreaks.
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This story originally appeared on Business Insider
The richest in society, including those in Silicon Valley , have developed a reputation for turning to New Zealand as a destination point to build shelters to face the end of the world .
And as Bloomberg reports , some of them may have already fled to their luxurious underground bunkers in the oceanic country as the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19 , continues to spread across the United States.
California Bay Area businessman Mihai Dinulescu and his wife boarded a plane bound for Auckland in early March, just four days before New Zealand closed its borders to foreigners, though local media reported landings on private planes since closing.
Dinulescu told Bloomberg that he has since connected with 10 other people who have also escaped into the country during the pandemic.
The general manager of Rising S Co, a Texas-based provider of the world's shelters, told the publication that he received a phone call in early March from a Silicon Valley executive struggling to access the secret door of his New Zealand underground bunker. He had never used the bunker before, according to Bloomberg , and was asking questions related to water and air filters, as well as power and the hot water heater.
In recent years, this portion of the elite has invested in the preparations for Judgment Day for various reasons . But the simplest explanation could be its mere wealth and circumstance.
As former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong told The New Yorker , “Tech developers don't necessarily think a crash is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe handicap, so given the amount of money they have, they spend a fraction of their net worth to protect themselves from this. It makes sense. ”
Notable Silicon Valley figures with a penchant for doomsday preparation include former Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel also owns his bunker. He became a citizen of New Zealand in 2011 and owns two properties in the country.
“New Zealand is already a utopia,” Thiel told Business Insider in 2011.
Silicon Valley billionaires aren't the only ones turning to the country for real estate investments against the end of the world. Wall Street tycoons are also known to buy land in the Kiwi Nation , so much so, that the country passed a law that prohibits most foreign visitors from buying houses or land within the country in 2018.
New Zealand has withstood the coronavirus outbreak relatively well. The country has reported only 12 deaths from respiratory disease and has a death rate per capita that is 50 times lower than that of the United States, as Bloomberg points out.