Elon Musk speaks at the 2020 Satellite Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC. AFP
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be as wacky as ever. Last year, he put a picture of a monkey clutching a bottle of alcohol on his Twitter profile. He calls himself a 3,000-year-old vampire, and says Tesla cars will talk to pedestrians, whatever that means. Now, the maverick entrepreneur’s views on the coronavirus shows that he is on his own trip, underplaying the danger from the threat time and again.
In a memo to SpaceX employees on Friday, Musk said that they were far less likely to die from COVID-19 than car crashes, BuzzFeed News reported.
Musk added in the email that he does not think the coronavirus is "within the top 100 health risks in the United States".
In the US, over 1,600 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported, while more than 40 people have died due to the disease caused by the virus.
According to a report in The New York Times that cited an estimate by health officials, if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not contained soon, between 160 million and 214 million Americans may become infected in the worst case scenario.
This is not the first time Musk has underplayed the danger from COVID-19.
In a tweet last week he said that "the coronavirus panic is dumb."
It's not that he did not explain why he thought so. In replies to a Twitter user's question, he said that both the virality of COVID-19 and fatality rate are overstated.
"Virality of C19 is overstated due to conflating diagnosis date with contraction date & over-extrapolating exponential growth, which is never what happens in reality. Keep extrapolating & virus will exceed mass of known universe," the tech billionaire reasoned.
"Fatality rate also greatly overstated. Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high," Musk said.
However, in view of the global spread of the coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has already declared it a pandemic.
Globally, coronavirus has infected over 132,500 people in 123 countries.
Tesla chief Elon Musk said Monday he is resuming production at the company's California auto assembly plant, defying authorities and escalating a feud over the Pacific state's pandemic shutdown.
The SpaceX CEO aired his opinions on aliens and UFOs in a discussion, saying ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if out there in our galaxy and others that there are a whole bunch of dead civilisations … that prospered for a while but then gradually their civilisations collapsed.’
Musk said, “Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for Covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”
With just five weeks to go until the US presidential election, Elon Musk is still an undecided voter. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO offered up a cagey answer when asked if he would be voting for Donald Trump.
Authorities in Tonga, hit by a massive volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15, have asked for aid to be delivered without human contact amid concerns a COVID outbreak would be devastating for the tiny Pacific island nation.
The World Bank ranks the crisis as among the most severe globally since the mid-19th century, devastating a country once seen as a wealthy and liberal outpost in the Middle East before civil war broke out from 1975 to 1990.
A severe snowstorm disrupted road and air traffic on Monday in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul. Turkish authorities declared administrative leave for all public institution personnel on Tuesday to decrease mobility.