Elon Musk Called Out for Privilege Over COVID Tweet

After SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted about a "bogus" occurrence while taking four COVID-19 tests, people on Twitter called him out for privilege and possibly stoking the flames of conspiracy theorists who don't trust coronavirus testing.

"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," Musk tweeted early Friday morning.

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.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

People on Twitter, responded negatively. One user shared a screenshot from the news of cars lined up to get coronavirus tests in Elysian Park, California, not far from SpaceX's headquarters. The user called Musk a "d**k" for getting four tests while people wait. SpaceX's HQ is located in Hawthorne, which according to Google Maps is about a 25 minute drive from Elysian Park.

People waiting for COVID testing just a few miles from SpaceX HQ.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk take *4* tests just to prove he's a dick. pic.twitter.com/zrnFXjEL9b

— Joseph Gruber (@JosephGruber) November 13, 2020

A few people responded to Musk's tweet with conspiracy theories about COVID tests. Musician Jim Corr wrote, "Mind-blowing fraud is occurring." MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin also responded to the tweet, calling it "irresponsible."

Mind-blowing fraud is occurring.

I know of four people who missed their scheduled test and got four positives in the post.

My friend's dad died of heart failure, they put Covid on the death cert, no test, no prior symptoms.

— President-Elect Jim Corr (@Jimcorrsays) November 13, 2020

Such an irresponsible tweet.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 13, 2020

The SpaceX CEO responded to a few tweets asking if it's possible that this is why there's been a large spike in cases lately. "If it's happening to me, it's happening to others," he tweeted. He also wrote, "Exactly," to someone who wrote about revenue from COVID tests, seemingly implying that testing is a cash-grab. He also told someone that he had common cold symptoms.

If it’s happening to me, it’s happening to others. I’m getting PCR tests from separate labs. Results will take about 24 hours.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

Exactly

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

Symptoms of a typical cold. Nothing unusual so far.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

Doctor and social media personality Eugene Gu responded to Musk's tweet with an explanation as to why his tests may have come back differently. While Musk didn't say what order the positive and negative tests came back, Gu explained that if the first two were negative and the last two were positive, it could've meant he "passed the threshold for detecting the coronavirus as they replicated."

It matters what order you received those results. If you had the first two tests come back negative earlier in the day and then the last two tests come back positive later in the day, then it could mean you passed the threshold for detecting the coronavirus as they replicated.

— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 13, 2020
Elon Musk
Tesla head Elon Musk talks to one visitor as he arrives to to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany. Maja Hitij/Getty

Late on Friday morning, Musk shared another idea of why he may have received a positive test. He asked, "What is the general population (no knowledge of symptoms) accuracy of a sars-cov2 PCR test & is it possible to generate a false positive if you simply run enough cycles?"

What is the general population (no knowledge of symptoms) accuracy of a sars-cov2 PCR test & is it possible to generate a false positive if you simply run enough cycles?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020

As previously reported in Newsweek, Musk tweeted out against coronavirus lockdowns in late April. Similar to his recent tweet asking about false positives, in June, he called for numerous COVID-19 retests, saying that there was a "ridiculous number of false positive C19 tests."

A media contact for SpaceX did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.