Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, has been dubbed a ‘Space Karen’ after questioning the effectiveness of COVID-19 testing.
Elon Musk took to Twitter on Friday to call rapid coronavirus testing “bogus” after claiming he’d tested both negative and positive for COVID-19 on Thursday last week.
“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.
Well… Twitter did its thing, and Dr Emma Bell, a bioinformatics scientist who specialises in analysing complex biological data, clarified the reason behind the mixed results. Bell then proceeded to call out ‘Space Karen’ Musk for not researching the test himself.
“Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed. They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19 when you’re absolutely riddled with it,” explained Dr Bell, who says that she is doing postdoctoral work in Ontario, Canada.
Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed. They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19 when you’re absolutely riddled with it. What’s bogus is that Space Karen didn’t read up on the test before complaining to his millions of followers. pic.twitter.com/a1Snfpm03h
— Emma Bell PhD (@emmabell42) November 14, 2020
Dr Bell noted that casting doubts over COVID-19 testing, especially given Musk’s large Twitter following, was slightly irresponsible – hence the ‘Space Karen’ label.
Musk has a history of downplaying and trivialising the severity of the pandemic, tweeting that “the coronavirus pandemic is dumb,” back in March. Since then, over 1.32 million people across the globe have died from the virus.
— dan hett (@danhett) November 16, 2020
After testing positive for COVID-19 and showing mild symptoms, Musk was forced to miss the recent SpaceX rocket launch.
The event, which occurred on Sunday, saw four Astronauts rocket into space aboard SpaceX’s ‘Flacon 9’ Dragon capsule from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marking SpaceX’s first fully-fledged crewed mission to the International Space Station and cementing a concrete relationship with NASA.
Thrusters are integrated with spacecraft, enabling abort capability all the way to abort for increased safety https://t.co/KrOHKOr6AE
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2020
NASA protocol forbids anyone from entering their facilities following a positive test, no matter what their position.
“When somebody tests positive for Covid, here at the Kennedy Space Center and across Nasa it is our policy for that person to quarantine and self isolate,” NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said ahead of the launch.
In true Twitter spirit, #WhiteHouseKaren also started trending later after social media users called out President Donald Trump for refusing to concede the 2020 presidential election to the president-elect, Joe Biden, who claimed victory more than a week ago.
— 🇯🇲KIMOYAKW🇯🇲 (@KimPossible1876) November 16, 2020
While Trump acknowledged Biden’s win on Sunday, he has said that he still “concedes nothing” and continues to believe that the election was “rigged”.