Elon Musk is once again publicly downplaying the threats of Covid-19.
In an inclusive interview with the journalist Kara Swisher, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he wouldn’t take a Covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available, and declined to mention whether he feels a requirement to pay employees who want to remain home to avoid contracting the virus.
“I’m not in risk for COVID, nor are my kids,” uttered Musk during Monday’s episode of the New York Times podcast “Sway.”
Musk has long cultivated a public persona of an eccentric entrepreneur who knows better than the experts and is not afraid to supply controversial opinions.
On the podcast, Musk argued that rather than sweeping stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, “anyone who is in risk should be quarantined until the storm passes.”
When Swisher confronted Musk with the risk that people would still die inside the process, he replied bluntly: “Everybody dies.”
“The question is what, on balance serves the greater good,” Musk continued, adding that the lockdowns didn’t accomplish that and therefore the pandemic may be a “no-win situation.”
Musk, the third-richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, tweeted in April that nationally stay-at-home orders amounted to “de facto house arrest .”
If one among his workers told him that coming to work would put their family in danger, Musk said he would simply tell them to “stay home.”
He declined to elaborate on whether he would feel obliged to pay them. When Swisher pressed, Musk grew defensive, threatening to finish the interview. “Let’s just move on …Kara, I don’t want to get into a debate about COVID, this situation … If you want to end the podcast now, we can do it.”
Musk also aimed fellow billionaire Gates, who in late July told journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that Musk needs to stick with what he knows best.
“Elon’s positioning is maintained a high level of outrageous comments,” Gates said. “He’s not much involved in vaccines. He makes a great electric car. And his rockets work well. So he’s allowed to say these things. I hope that he doesn’t confuse areas he is not involved in too much.”
Musk responded on the podcast in his typically blunt routine: “It’s like, hey, knucklehead, we make the vaccine machines for CureVac, that company you’re invested in.”
It’s not the first-time Musk has criticized the Microsoft co-founder.
When Gates blogged his doubts earlier this month on the possibility for long-haul electric vehicles, Musk tweeted that Gates “has no clue.”