SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told company employees that the risk of death from Coronavirus is lesser than the risk of death from car crashes. According to the space travel expert, an average of 36,000 people die yearly from car crashes while less than 50 people have died so far from COVID-19.
In a March 6 tweet, the Tesla CEO noted that the “the coronavirus panic is dumb,” a statement that many of his fans across the United States have faulted.
In the memo sent to SpaceX employees on Friday, Musk said that COVID-19 is not even “within the top 100 health risks in the United States” and that those who succumbed to the disease were old people with pre-existing health conditions and others in high-risk groups. It must, however, be remembered that an earlier memo from the CEO advised any sick employee to stay back at home and self-quarantine.
Many health experts have slammed Musk for his comments, saying they are disingenuous and dangerous because there is no basis for comparing a car crash with catching a virus. While the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared coronavirus a global pandemic, health specialists said up to 200 million Americans could become infected with up to two million deaths if the spread of the virus is not arrested and contained soon enough.
Another fear associated with the disease is that there could be mass hospitalization that could overwhelm the US’ healthcare system. Meanwhile, major cities have begun to ban large gatherings of people, tech companies called off annual conferences, organizations ask employees to work from home, and travel bans imposed in many cities and countries around the world.
WHO said up to 150,000 people from 140 countries around the world are infected with coronavirus, and asked people to constantly wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or hand-sanitizer to curb the spread of the disease.