Tesla CEO Elon Musk was slapped with the nickname “Space Karen” after an unfortunate run of events late last week.
Musk was not able to attend the launch Sunday evening of his company’s first operational human spaceflight for NASA, and social media did not feel particularly sorry for him. Musk, whose skeptical views about COVID-19 are well-chronicled, tweeted that he “most likely” has a mild version of the virus.
Musk labeled his test results “wildly different” and attempted to shoot down their legitimacy—on Friday the 13th, no less. He had expressed confusion when he reported two positives as well as two negatives from the rapid antigen tests.
Dr Emma Bell, whose Twitter profile identifies her as a Toronto “Bioinformatics postdoc w/ @Decarvalho_lab. Ovarian cancer + epigenetics + machine learning,” responded to his tweet by noting that rapid antigen tests detect COVID-19 only “when you’re absolutely riddled with it.” She tweeted “What’s bogus is that Space Karen didn’t read up on the test before complaining to his millions of followers.”
She was more expansive via her medium.com post. “In August, when the FDA approved the first COVID-19 rapid antigen test, they made the comparison to at-home pregnancy tests. They’re cheap, don’t need a lab, and give results in minutes. … Rapid antigen tests work by detecting a protein found on the surface of the virus. … COVID-19 is most contagious 2 days before symptoms emerge. Thus, a rapid antigen test may well return a false negative when an infected person most needs to isolate. … Elon Musk’s two false negatives are in line with the known limitations of rapid antigen testing.”
Musk said as recently as Sept. 30 that he’s not interested in any future vaccine, appearing on a New York Times podcast saying, “I’m not at risk for COVID, nor are my kids.”