Inside the Idaho jet-set ski destination with one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the US
- Sun Valley, Idaho is a popular jet-set ski destination and home to the exclusive Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.
- Notable figures including Mark Zuckerberg, Bob Iger, and Tim Cook have attended the conference, while celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood have been known to hit the ski slopes.
- Located in a county with just 22,000 full-time residents, Sun Valley joins other small-town areas like the Hamptons and Cape Cod that are being severely disrupted by city dwellers fleeing the virus.
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Wealthy people aren't just flocking to the Hamptons, Cape Cod, and Berkshire County to escape the coronavirus pandemic. They're also heading to Sun Valley, Idaho - a popular jet-set ski destination and home to the exclusive Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.
But even as they head west, their presence is still causing the same problems that impact the small-town cities of the northeast: food shortages, medical supply shortages, and a rising fear that these part-time residents and visitors could be bringing in the coronavirus from the cities they're leaving behind.
Blaine County, where Sun Valley is located, is dealing with over 450 reported cases of the coronavirus among its 22,000 residents. The outbreak in the county, as noted by Amanda Holpuch of The Guardian, has overwhelmed the local medical system, with one local hospital partially shutting down earlier in the month as healthcare workers became infected with the virus themselves.
Keep reading for a closer look at Sun Valley and the larger Blaine County area.
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Sun Valley is under three hours by car from Boise, Idaho.
Sun Valley is known as a jet-set ski destination and for being the site of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, which Business Insider once called "summer camp for billionaires."
Sun Valley has been the site of the conference since 1983.
But Sun Valley is known for its wealthy and famous visitors year-round. The ski destination has been a hotspot among celebrities for nearly a century.
In the past few months, many wealthy people have flocked to Sun Valley to escape from big cities amid the coronavirus pandemic, causing a disruption in local life.
Some pointed the finger at the annual Black Summit of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, blaming it for a surge of cases in the Blaine County area. The summit saw nearly 700 people arrive in Sun Valley, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hundreds of them have since tested positive for the virus.
On March 12, the city of Ketchum, which is just outside of Sun Valley, reported its first positive case of the coronavirus. Sun Valley closed its resort on March 15.
Now, local officials are begging people to stay away from the Sun Valley area to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
But the mayor of Ketchum says there's no use in passing the blame around.
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