Millionaire COVID Skeptic Now Has the Virus

Flavio Briatore's nightclub has been tied to dozens of COVID-19 cases
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2020 2:59 PM CDT
Millionaire COVID Critic Hospitalized With Virus
In this May 14, 2010 file photo, former Renault Team principal Flavio Briatore leaves the FIA motorhome ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack, in Monaco.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, file)

A man who Reuters calls "one of Italy’s most flamboyant businessmen" and who the Times of London dubs "one of Italy's leading COVID skeptics" has been hospitalized in stable condition in Milan after testing positive for the coronavirus—this after railing against the measures his country has put in place in an attempt to impede the spread of the virus. Flavio Briatore, 70, gained notoriety as a Formula 1 team manager in the 1990s and 2000s and now owns a nightclub dubbed "The Billionaire" in Sardinia. As of 2019 he was said to be worth $400 million.

Last week, he said on Instagram that "it breaks my heart to see an economy slaughtered by people who have done sod all," in reference to the restriction that had been placed on such establishments. Some 60 cases have been tied to the club, and Reuters notes that Briatore's social dealings have been extensive lately: He played an Aug. 15 soccer game with celebs and was recently with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Per the Times, he came down with a fever and felt tired on Sunday night and went to San Raffaele hospital, where he has been since. A bit of trivia from the AP: Briatore is a friend of President Trump's and was in attendance at his inauguration. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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