Elon Musk Weighs In on Coronavirus Outbreak: The 'Panic Is Dumb'

Twitter users had a lot to say about the Tesla CEO's comment.

Elon Musk

Image via Getty/Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto

Elon Musk

As the novel coronavirus spreads rapidly around the world, health experts and government officials are taking drastic measures to prevent a full-blown pandemic. There are now 101,906 confirmed cases across 97 countries and territories, as the death toll rapidly approaches the 4,000 mark. Major events have been canceled, prisoners have been temporarily released, and thousands of people have been quarantined, all in the effort to combat the spread of the deadly disease.

But if you ask Elon Musk, the world is just tripping.

On Friday, the Tesla CEO took to Twitter to share his two cents on the public's response to the outbreak, simply writing: "The coronavirus panic is dumb."

The coronavirus panic is dumb

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2020

Less than two hours after it was posted, the tweet garnered over 300,000 likes, 74,000 retweets, and thousands and thousands of replies. Many Twitter users criticized Musk, who has no background in medicine, for appearing to downplay the severity of coronavirus. This disease has infected 272 people in the United States —15 of those cases have been fatal.

It seems the facts are not in agreement with your assessment. To be fair, we're not in uncharted territory in that regard. pic.twitter.com/VIyr1z5hAH

— Peter A. Roselle (@PhenomenalPoto) March 6, 2020

Elon this is not a good tweet. People are still not taking proper steps.

You are a man of science. Can I set up a call with some scientists to help change your mind?

— Bruce Fenton (@brucefenton) March 6, 2020

Billionaires should not exist.

And this kind of senseless disregard for the wellbeing of vulnerable members of our society helps prove why.

— Kai Newkirk (@kai_newkirk) March 6, 2020

Is this because you think it's an overreaction or because TSLA stock has gone down with the panic?

I have some stock and plan to hold haha pic.twitter.com/8RXPT7Tfos

— Ohmwrecker (@Ohmwrecker) March 6, 2020

We don’t need to panic but we should have been more prepared. Individuals who are immunocompromised, have lung disease or asthma or are elderly are at a much higher risk of succumbing to the virus. Please don’t be insensitive.

— DebbieForDemocracy 🌻🇺🇦🌈 (@warner_gm) March 6, 2020

It's also worth noting that Tesla's Shanghai factory temporarily shut down at the end of January because of coronavirus concerns. The factory reopened on Feb. 10 and resumed production; however, Business Insider reports that the government-ordered closure isn't expected "to have a significant impact on Tesla's first-quarter financial results."

Tesla is headquartered in California, where there are now 69 confirmed coronavirus cases and one virus-related death. Several large tech companies—including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter—have asked employees to work from home in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. As pointed out CNBC, it's unclear if Tesla has provided any work-from-home guidelines in the wake of the outbreak.

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