By Brenda Steele:
What the purpose of the event was remains unknown. A new product line? The upcoming Olympics (since postponed)? Who knows.
I would suspect that for the participants the event passed off as these things do – and it was only in the following days that they learned that all had not been as it seemed.
On Sunday March 1st an announcement in Business Insider reported on the closure of the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton Oregon for deep cleaning out of “an abundance of caution”. Mention was made of Covid19 cases in Lake Oswego Oregon which Googlemaps will tell you is just 10 minutes and 7.4 miles from Beaverton
The next day March 2nd money.usnews.com reported “Nike Temporarily Closes European HQ in the Netherlands Due to Coronavirus Case” . That report does mention the World HQ closure.
On March 3rd the Evening Standard reported that “About 150 employees of the US sportswear giant were told to stay at home after a colleague returned from an overseas trip to one of the worst-hit areas, the Standard understands.” Well the Standard may understand it. I’m confused.
On March 4th chroniclelive.co.uk reported that Nike had closed down its office in Sunderland due to a coronavirus alert, and People in hazmat suits were seen entering the sportswear company’s offices in Camberwell Way on Wednesday.
On March 4th the Swindon advertiser reported that “the Nike store at Swindon Designer Outlet closed for deep clean (but it denies it’s because of coronavirus)”
On March 5th GlasgowLive.co.uk reported on “Mystery closure of Glasgow’s Nike store as Buchanan Street shop shut 24 hours for ‘cleaning’. Glaswegians have been questioning the surprise closure of the city centre store on social media.”
Not a single one of these articles mentioned the Nike Conference in Edinburgh. The references to the cause is vague. No-one connects the dots. The press makes almost no complaint to Nike at this juncture about the lack of information.
At this point Nike’s multiple problems fade from the headlines until …… Roll forward more than 2 months to May 11 and the BBC Program Disclosure headlined on the BBC website under the headline “Coronavirus: Earlier Scottish lockdown ‘could have prevented 2,000 deaths”. I have not seen this program as I don’t pay the TV tax but I presume the website article is an accurate account. The program rolls out a parcel of experts who opine about how many lives could have been saved if Scotland had locked down sooner. This is followed by cynical exploitation – for what else can you call it – of the pain of some of the people who have lost loved ones. And after that there is an expose of the key role that the Conference supposedly played in the spread of Covid19 in Scotland. If only we had locked down earlier! What the program doesn’t seem to make clear is that the Scottish Government had very limited ability to invoke a lockdown, for most importantly ScotGov has no borrowing powers to support the Scottish economy. We are dependant on the largesse of Westminster. They haven’t exactly been overjoyed at the modest deviations made by the devolved governments and they are reneging on the promised funds.
It didn’t take long for the MSM to get to work. The media seems utterly enraged that they were not told. Why? What did they plan to do with the information? Did they plan to go and camp on the doorstep of the Nike colleagues sitting at home worrying if they had caught Covid19. They were certainly very busy finding anyone with any connection to the event or Nike locations, Lloyds bank employees, tour guides, digital companies. They don’t seem to have much traction with them, although they were not traced. But the kilt fitter – oh joy. Pity that she only met ten of the colleagues and that wasn’t at the hotel.
Of course if you are the press you can use your imagination. On 17th May EdinburghLive.co.uk titled a report “Livingston outlet not warned when Nike closed for ‘deep clean’ after conference” coronavirus outbreak” Apparently delegates (Oh dear) ” flocked from round the world to the event” The article continues with the statements that days later – on 2nd March – Scotland’s first confirmed case of coronavirus was publicly announced, which was followed by the death of an NHS Lothian patient under two weeks later. The problem is that the first confirmed case – from Tayside -had recently returned from Italy not Edinburgh. Why then was this included? If you read https://www.travellingtabby.com/scotland-coronavirus-tracker/ you will know that Dundee/Tayside has been the area most active in testing from the get-go right up to the present time – what has that to do with the Nike Conference?
Relentless questioning of what the Scottish Government knew has established that on March 2nd , Health Protection Scotland was alerted by international authorities about one person, not from the UK, who tested positive after attending the conference, and on March 3rd when one person in Scotland connected to the event tested positive for Covid19 ministers were informed that very evening. Looks like Health Scotland really moved fast once that alert arrived. I do wonder if they would have had much cooperation from the colleagues if the Nike Conference had been filling the headlines.
But just a moment if we go back and look at the announcements from Nike for the sequence makes me very curious. Somehow it doesn’t stack up.
The international alert arrived on 2nd March – but Nike World HQ announced their deep-clean the day before and their Europe HQ announced it that very same day! Look at that sequence. How does that come about? How did they organize the deep clean it so quickly? Which of them originated the international alert? Or was it one of the other (unknown) locations all over the world from which Nike “delegates flocked” to the Edinburgh conference. Those two deep-cleans were followed by the London Corporate offices and then Sunderland. All Corporate offices with large numbers of staff. Nike Retail outlets only come at the end.
So who actually brought the Covid ID to the conference? There is no obvious choice. Covid19 was present at the first three corporate locations.
Oregon does have some statistics available for infections. See https://public.tableau.com/profile/oregon.health.authority.covid.19#!/vizhome/OregonHealthAuthorityCOVID-19DataDashboard/COVID-19EPICases. Sorry, I don’t have any information for the Netherlands. I don’t speak Dutch. London information? Good luck with that.
If you can figure it out from what was reported in the press, do tell me, I haven’t – yet. I’m still digging.
A table listing by date all the sources for the items I have mentioned here and others besides is available. Email: email@example.com for a copy