September 29, 2020

Elon Musk says he won’t take Covid vaccine and calls Bill Gates a ‘knucklehead’

Elon Musk book cover, (Shutterstock).

SpaceX and Tesla’s odd-ball boss Elon Musk said that he nor his family will take the Coronavirus vaccine on the New York Times’ “Sway” opinion podcast, the New York Post reports.

“I’m not at risk, neither are my kids,” the eccentric entrepreneur, who is not a stranger to making controversial statements, said to host Kara Swisher on Monday’s edition of the podcast.

Musk also bashed the United Kingdom’s nationwide lockdown measures as a “no-win situation” amid soaring virus cases in the U.K., adding that it has “diminished my faith in humanity.”

He then suggested that, as a more targeted alternative, “anyone who is at risk” should be “quarantined until the storm passes.” This earned him a swift rebuke from Swisher, with her citing the number of lives that could potentially be lost if such a limited lockdown were implemented.

“Everybody dies,” Elon Musk

“Everybody dies,” he remarked.

The 49-year-old billionaire has made similar comments regarding the pandemic in the past. He has previously called the lockdowns of various countries, especially the U.S.’s, “unethical” and “de facto house arrest,” RT reports.

While on the podcast, Musk took the time to point out that his commercial space company SpaceX “didn’t skip a day” throughout the pandemic’s duration in order to highlight how, in his mind, the quarantines were illogical. He further justified continuing to run SpaceX, saying, “We had national security clearance because we were doing national security work,” and that, “We sent astronauts to the Space Station and back.”

During the latter part of the podcast, Musk stirred even more controversy by calling Bill Gates a “knucklehead.” This follows the Microsoft founder’s previous criticism of Musk’s skepticism toward the virus.

“Gates said something about me not knowing what I was doing,” the Boring Company chief told Swisher. Then, in reference to Tesla manufacturing equipment for the German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac, he added, “It’s like, ‘Hey, knucklehead, we actually make the vaccine machines for CureVac, that company you’re invested in.’”

This is in response to a specific CNBC interview in July that Gates participated in. In the aforementioned interview, Gates said he hoped that Musk “doesn’t confuse areas he’s not involved with” following his claim that the Tesla CEO had very little knowledge about vaccines.

As the global death toll from the Coronavirus surpasses 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, it is still uncertain when there will be a working vaccine. Most experts estimate that a vaccine will likely become widely available by mid-2021, the BBC recently reported. Scientists are aiming to develop a vaccine within the span of a few months, while vaccines tend to take years—even decades—to develop, according to the same article.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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