Breaking — Elon Musk Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Elon Musk has revealed on Twitter, late Thursday evening, that he has tested positive for COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2.

However, he was tested four times on Thursday, via the same test procedure, same test machine, and same nurse, and yet the results were inconsistent, with two of the tests showing positive, two showing negative:

Update: Note this fairly well known — but apparently not very well known — context regarding rapid antigen tests:

In other words, while the rapid antigen tests are useful for quick, rapid, regular testing in order to identify the virus quickly if it enters your system (and is thus commonly used by companies or people who need frequent testing), it is not suitable for very decisive diagnosis. Much more reliable tests, such as the PCR, should be used for such purposes.

Musk also said he feels okay and has “Symptoms of a typical cold. Nothing unusual so far.”

Musk also said that he is now getting PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests from separate labs, and expects results in around 24 hours:

PCR is a more mature technology than the rapid antigen test that has so far given the 4 mixed results, and should therefore give more robust data about Musk’s health status.

Ever aware of his own relationship with the media and being in the public eye, Musk joined in a joke at the irony of his potentially being infected with the COVID-19 virus:

Musk has strong views on the COVID-19 pandemic, and has found himself both praised and criticised for various statements he has made. He has mobilized Tesla to work on various solutions to the pandemic, from ventilator machines to RNA vaccine equipment.

On the other hand, Musk has railed against certain lockdowns and policies that he sees as overreactions to the pandemic, or striking the wrong balance. He has tweeted statements such as “Give people their freedom back!

He has also accused policy makers of implementing measures that resemble fascism, saying on the 2020 Q1 earnings call in late April “This is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom … give us back our Godd*m freedom.”

This is an evolving story, and we will know more in the next few hours … stay tuned.


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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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