David McNew + AFP/Getty Images
- Musk sent a companywide email to Space-X employees downplaying the risk of the coronavirus.
- The CEO told employees that if they’re feeling sick, they ought to stay home, but earlier in the week stated on Twitter that the fatality rate was “greatly overstated.”
- As of the publication of this article, 51 people have died in the United States, and there are more than 2000 cases of coronavirus.
While cities are banning large gatherings, companies are asking employees to work from home, auto shows and sporting events are being canceled or rescheduled, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared coronavirus a worldwide pandemic, Buzzfeed reports that Space-X CEO Elon Musk is telling his employees it is "*not* within the top 100 health risks in the United States."
This follows a tweet the CEO posted on March 6 stating, "The coronavirus panic is dumb." While the argument that the tweet is in response to panic buying and not the outbreak itself, the email sent to Space-X employees on Friday morning is more clear.
In an email acquired by Buzzfeed, the CEO states: "As a basis for comparison, the risk of death from C19 is *vastly* less than the risk of death from driving your car home." He pointed out that there have been 36,000 automotive deaths. We assume he means per year since that lines up with the amount of 2018 automobile-related fatalities: 36,560.
He compared that to “36 so far this year for C19.” As of the publishing of this article, 51 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in the United States.
While his numbers aren't wrong, it is interesting that he would compare automobile deaths to virus deaths, particularly when Musk's best-known company, Tesla, is in the business of building and selling automobiles. Plus, no one "catches" an automobile collision.
Musk went on to state that this is not a top 100 health risk and comment that the 36 deaths "were almost all in high-risk groups, particularly older people who already had prior lung damage, diabetes, or heart disease." Musk did tell his employees if they are not feeling well, they should stay home.
There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus. As has been extremely well publicized in recent days, the CDC recommends cleaning your hands often, which includes washing them for 20 seconds. When water is not available, use hand sanitizer. Also, avoid touching your face and avoid close contact with people who are sick; distance yourself from others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.