The tech maverick’s stance on the pandemic can be described as controversial. He has downplayed the risks of SARS-CoV-2 and claimed US authorities were overcounting coronavirus-related deaths, but he has at the same time helped Californian hospitals by purchasing ventilators used to treat people with severe cases of COVID-19.
Elon Musk set social media on fire after he posted a meme that some netizens deemed controversial. The image depicts what appears to be an unvaccinated person without a mask alongside an individual who has a QR code on his forehead, is wearing a mask, and whose body is covered in syringes. Both wonder why the other isn’t dead.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2021
The post has received over 11,000 comments, 306,000 likes, and been shared over 54,000 times. People in the comments were divided over the meme. Supporters of safety measures and vaccines have criticised Musk for downplaying the severity of the pandemic.
For the 100th time: The mask goes over mouth AND nose.
And this tweet is fake news. Hospital admissions are 60 times (!) more likely if you are unvaccinated.
The virus goes *viral* just like your tweets. Come on, Elon!!
— Chris Pyak (@chris_pyak) December 31, 2021
Individuals who regard the coronavirus restrictions as violating their freedoms as well as opponents of vaccines appeared to back the tech maverick.
— John W. Rich Kid (Wendy’s Fry Cook) (@JohnWRichKid) December 30, 2021
— Brendan Grant 🇭🇲 (@13rendan88) December 30, 2021
Many users argued that the meme was not support for either of the sides.
I think people are mis-interpreting this meme, @elonmusk isn't being pro or anti vaccine with this meme, just pointing out that both parties are thinking exactly the same about the other.
— Andy ATR (@Andy_ATR1) December 30, 2021
Not sure why people are hating on this it's just a FACT on how the world is DIVIDED right now, the meme itself does not favour any ideology it's just a simple representation of what is actually going trough both PROvax and ANTIvax minds, only hypocrites would take offence. 👌
— Loxxylox76 (@loxxylox76) December 31, 2021
— •K10•✨ (@Kristennetten) December 30, 2021
This is not the first time that Elon Musk has made statements on the coronavirus pandemic that have raised eyebrows. At the beginning of the pandemic, he came under harsh criticism for downplaying the severity of COVID-19. He claimed US authorities had overcounted COVID-19 deaths and went as far as to suggest that by April 2020, the country would have “close to zero” cases. In addition, Musk criticised “stay at home” orders, calling them “fascist”.
At the same time, he purchased 1,200 ventilators used to treat individuals with severe cases of COVID-19 and sent them to California as the state was facing a shortage of medical equipment. Musk’s company Tesla also commissioned a study on the disease to see how the immune system reacts to the virus.