Tesla’s Elon Musk says the coronavirus panic is dumb

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Elon Musk attends the groundbreaking ceremony of the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, east China, on January 7, 2019.

Ding Ting | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday that people are overreacting about the deadly COVID-19, while health officials across the world prepare for a possible pandemic. 

“The coronavirus panic is dumb,” Musk said on Twitter to his more than 31 million followers. Musk does not have a background in medicine or virology.

The novel coronavirus has spread rapidly across Northern California, where the electric-car maker is headquartered. California, which has 66 confirmed cases, reported its first death from the virus on Wednesday. Across the United States, at least 245 people have been infected and at least 14 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have all confirmed at least one employee or contractor has tested positive for the virus in the state of Washington, the state that’s seen the largest amount of cases. That’s led a handful of companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Google and Microsoft, to update their remote work policies. 

A Tesla spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the company’s policies if an outbreak at the firm occurs. 

Tesla has acknowledged that the coronavirus outbreak may have a material adverse impact on its business. Musk has lost about $6.74 billion in a broader market sell-off over the last two weeks on coronavirus fears. 

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