While SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is celebrating the launching of four astronauts to the International Space Station, Musk is facing heat for a tweet questioning the validity of COVID-19 pandemic testing.
In a tweet from November 13, Elon Musk stated, “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.” Many called Musk’s questioning of the results irresponsible, with Emma Bell Ph.D. on Twitter taking Musk down a notch, calling him “Space Karen.”
With a string of tweets, Emma Bell explained why Elon Musk’s response was misguided, even saying, “He’s just learning about basic molecular biology.” Bell stated that the rapid antigen tests only detect COVID-19 when a patient is “riddled with it.” Bell also showed that with the rapid antigen tests, receiving two negative results, followed by two positive results later that day is completely normal with this type of test. Emma Bell went into detail about why Musk’s claims are incorrect on Medium.
On November 14, Elon Musk continued to complain about receiving different results from different labs, claiming that he has a moderate case of COVID-19. Musk also stated that his symptoms made him feel like he had a minor cold, stating that the coronavirus is just a type of cold.
Because of Elon Musk’s positive COVID-19 tests, he was not able to witness the launching of his latest rocket in Florida. Taking his place at the launch was SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, who said that Musk was still very closely tied to the launch.
Elon Musk has already made several controversial statements about COVID-19, even before contracting the virus. In March, Musk guessed on his Twitter that the coronavirus panic would cause more harm than the virus, even claiming there would be close to zero new cases in the United States by April. Soon after, Musk threatened that he would move Tesla’s factory out of California if they were forced to stay closed due to the lockdown.
On Monday, the phrase “Space Karen” started trending on Twitter, mocking Elon Musk’s reaction to the rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, leading to this beautiful piece of art.
The latest reports have shown that COVID-19 cases are rising significantly, with some calling for a second quarantine to help lower the spread of the virus. In Los Angeles County, where Elon Musk resides, there have been 340,000 cases alone, with over 7,000 deaths.
While Elon Musk is clearly showing his ignorance when it comes to the COVID-19 tests, how they work, and what COVID-19 actually is, what’s even more dangerous is Musk’s decision to share these views with his millions of Twitter followers. Misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic has already spread to ridiculous amounts, but having someone of Musk’s stature in the scientific community spreading incorrect details about his experience with coronavirus only hurts the public’s understanding of the virus. Thankfully, people like Emma Bell exist to help bring facts to a Space Karen like Elon Musk, bringing the truth to those who don’t do their research.