San Francisco: Amid growing cancellations of tech events the world over, shut down of offices and manufacturing halt in China due to coronavirus concerns, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted that panic around the new virus (COVID-19) which has infected 329 people and killed 15 others in the US is “dumb”.
“The coronavirus panic is dumb,” Musk said in the tweet on Friday.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who is known for courting controversies with his tweets, did not explain in details why he thought so.
Over 3,400 people have died due to coronavirus, a vast majority of them in China. Worldwide, the total number of coronavirus cases was 101,492 on Saturday.
Musk’s own company Tesla had to briefly shut manufacturing in China due to the measures adopted to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While Musk found support in some of his followers, others found the tweet quite problematic.
“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, CEO Chainstone Labs tweeted.
The death toll in the US due to the coronavirus outbreak rose to 17 on Friday.
“I’m totally amazed that somebody who owns a company where employees can’t work from home would call taking steps to protect workplaces from a highly-infectious disease ‘dumb’,” said another Twitter users.
“Hope you go through puberty soon,” said another.
Musk comments came even as Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gate has written about the importance of finding a solution to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
In a blog post on February 28, Gates said that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has started to behave a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen the world has been worried about.
He called upon donor governments to help low- and middle-income countries prepare for this “pandemic”, in addition to helping their own citizens respond.
“By helping countries in Africa and South Asia get ready now, we can save lives and also slow the global circulation of the virus,” Gates said.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in February announced that it would immediately commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus.
Gates warned that COVID-19 will be much harder to contain than Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which were much less efficiently transmitted.