- Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted late Thursday that he had “symptoms of a typical cold” and had tested positive twice for COVID-19 – and negative twice.
- “I’m getting PCR tests from separate labs. Results will take about 24 hours,” he said.
- A PCR is a gold-standard test for COVID-19 – Musk’s initial tests were rapid antigen tests, which the Food and Drug Administration says have a “higher chance of false negatives.”
- Musk claimed that “something extremely bogus is going on” – seemingly not understanding he needs to wait for the PCR for a definitive result.
- Musk has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the coronavirus, and spread misinformation about COVID-19.
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Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Thursday said he had tested both positive and negative for the virus on the same day.
In a tweet, Musk said he took the tests after displaying cold symptoms. “Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse,” he said.
The billionaire said he took a “rapid antigen test from BD,” most likely referring to Becton Dickinson and Co’s rapid antigen test, which shows results in 15 minutes.
He said that he’s waiting for PCR tests â€” the gold-standard for COVID-19 â€” from separate labs. “Results will take about 24 hours,” he added.
Musk claimed that “something extremely bogus is going on” â€” but appeared to be misinformed.
Antigen tests, which aim to detect the presence of a virus, are not as sensitive as PCR tests. The Food and Drug Administration says that in the case of a positive result, antigen tests “are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection.”
Getting both a positive and negative antigen test is therefore not unusual or suspicious.
The FDA recommends that negative results are confirmed with a PCR test.
Business Insider has approached Becton Dickinson and Co for comment.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2020
When asked by a Twitter user if this is why there had been a major spike in cases, Musk said: “If it’s happening to me, it’s happening to others.”
Musk has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus threat and, at times, spread misinformation about COVID-19.
He said in a September interview on the podcast “Sway” that he would not get the COVID-19 vaccine for himself or his family because he was “not at risk for COVID, nor are my kids.”
“Essentially, the right thing to do would be to not have done a lockdown for the whole country but to have, I think, anyone who’s at risk should be quarantined until the storm passes,” Musk said during the podcast episode.
In July, Musk tweeted that the surge in coronavirus cases was due to testing errors rather than increased transmission.
“There are a ridiculous number of false positive [COVID-19] tests,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “This is a big part of why C19 positive tests are going up while hospitalizations & mortality are declining.”
But Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen called that “false and dangerous misinformation.”
If average cases continue to grow 34% from week to week, the country could have 1 million daily coronavirus cases by the end of the year, a new report from Pantheon Macroeconomics revealed Wednesday.
So far, the coronavirus has killed more than 243,000 people in America and has infected more than 10.6 million.