San Francisco, March 14 (IANS) Amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus which has killed nearly 5,000 people in the world, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to be dancing to his own tune, 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 COVID-19 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 Organization has already declared it a pandemic.
Globally, coronavirus has infected over 132,500 people in 123 countries.