Social media users have dubbed SpaceX CEO Elon Musk ‘Space Karen’ after he complained about the reliability of coronavirus tests.
Musk’s new nickname started to do the rounds online after he revealed that he’d tested both positive and negative for coronavirus in the same day.
The entrepreneur said he’d had four rapid antigen tests in the same day, two of which said he didn’t have the virus, and two of which said he did. Medical experts have stressed that rapid antigen tests are not as reliable as PCR tests, which use a nasal swab, but his mixed results led Musk to question the reliability of all tests.
Considering he’s the CEO and founder of SpaceX and Tesla, two very well established companies, it seems likely that Musk would have access to good, scientific contacts who he could question about testing.
Instead, however, Musk opted for the ‘Facebook mum’ option and decided to ask social media users about the reliability of the tests, writing: ‘What is the general population (no knowledge of symptoms) accuracy of a sars-cov2 PCR test & is it possible to generate a false positive if you simply run enough cycles?’
Musk went on to say it would be ‘great to hear from people who know a lot about the PCR testing industry’, though he also agreed with a follower who suggested that ‘revenues from tests are likely not bogus & very consistent.’
Social media users branded Musk as ‘irresponsible’ for questioning the reliability of testing and, after he used Twitter to complain about and question his results, people decided that ‘Karen’ – a name with connotations of someone who is above the rules, who refuses to believe they are wrong, and who complains at every opportunity – would be a fitting descriptor for him.
One Twitter user, who describes themselves as a ‘bioinformatics postdoc’, wrote:
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.
Others quickly showed their appreciation for the trend, with another Twitter user writing: ‘There is no Elon Musk. There is only Space Karen.’
A third wrote:
I am on my knees begging every citizen of Planet Earth to start calling Elon Musk, Space Karen.
Come on, we can do this.
Musk doesn’t appear to have shared his thoughts on his new nickname since it started to do the rounds, but it will be interesting to see whether he chooses to acknowledge it and the connotations it carries.
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Topics: Technology, Conspiracy Theories, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Elon Musk, testing
CreditsElon Musk/Twitter and 1 other