Tuesday 29 September 2020

Both virality, fatality rate of COVID-19 overstated: Elon Musk

- Posted on 09 March 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, MARCH 9 : After his controversial tweet that the “coronavirus panic is dumb”, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made an attempt to explain why he thinks so.

In his replies to a Twitter user, Musk on Sunday said that both the virality of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and fatality rate are overstated.

“Virality of C19 is overstated due to conflating diagnosis date with contraction date & over-extrapolating exponential growth, which is never what happens in reality. Keep extrapolating & virus will exceed mass of known universe,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO reasoned.

Globally, coronavirus infections crossed 100,000 while killing over 3,500 people. In the US, the number of infections has exceeded 500 and the death toll due to the virus reached 22.

“Fatality rate also greatly overstated. Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high,” Musk said.

In reply to the tweets, some users asked Musk to do more research.

However, Musk’s contention that the coronavirus panic is dumb has drawn severe criticism from several quarters.

Responding to Musk, mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb tweeted, “Saying the coronavirus panic as dumb is what’s dumb.” Taleb is the author of the Incerto, a five volume philosophical essay on uncertainty published between 2001 and 2018 of which the most well known books are “The Black Swan” and “Antifragile”.

Another Twitterati found Musk’s tweet “senseless”.

“Billionaires should not exist. And this kind of senseless disregard for the well being of vulnerable members of our society helps prove why,” wrote the user.

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