Elon Musk has revealed he will not get a coronavirus vaccine when they’re available because he’s ‘not at risk’ and defends keeping his Tesla factories up and running amid the pandemic.
The 49-year-old tech giant defended opening up Tesla factories in defiance of lockdowns – a lengthy saga that has seen him sue Alameda County, launch a profanity-laden rant about how lockdowns are ‘unethical’ and allegedly fire employees who didn’t feel safe enough to return to work.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder said Monday in an interview with Kara Swisher on the New York Times’ podcast Sway that even when vaccines are readily accessible, he won’t take one.
When asked ‘Will you get a vaccine? What will you do with your own family?’ he curtly replied, ‘No, I’m not at risk for COVID. Nor are my kids.’
Elon Musk, 49, said he won’t get a coronavirus vaccine when they’re available because he’s ‘not at risk’, in a Monday interview on the NYT podcast Sway
When podcast host Kara Swisher (above) asked ‘Will you get a vaccine? What will you do with your own family?’ he curtly replied, ‘No, I’m not at risk for COVID. Nor are my kids.’
He slammed lockdowns that unfolded across the country as a grave mistake.
‘I mean this is a hot button issue where rationality takes a back seat. In the grand scheme of things what we have something with a very low mortality rate and high contagion,’ he said.
‘Essentially the right thing to do would be to not have done a lockdown for the whole country but to have anyone that who is at risk quarantine until the storm passes,’ he added.
He noted that he’s been going to work as normal and his aerospace manufacturer company SpaceX has sent astronauts to space and back.
He did face some hurdles, however, with keeping his Tesla factories in California open.
‘Tesla has been, apart for several weeks where we were shut down by the state, and then the overzealous Alameda County, which was a travesty, but apart from that we’ve been making cars this entire time and it’s been great,’ Musk said.
In May Tesla sued Alameda County officials for trying to shutter the company’s main Fremont warehouse due to the virus through June.
Musk opened his Fremont, California Tesla plant in May in defiance of Alameda County lockdown regulations and sued the county for trying to shutter the plant. A view of workers assembling cars at the plant above in 2015
An aerial view of the Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California above
Host Swisher pointed out his perspective on the pandemic is contradictory to much of his other work in the name of saving humanity – from space exploration to eco-friendly electric cars.
‘Everybody dies,’ Musk said on the human cost of the pandemic that has infected more than seven million in the US and killed more than 204,000.
Musk said the US should have better assessed what does the ‘greater good’ and lockdowns were not the solution.
‘It has diminished my faith in humanity, the whole thing…the irrationality of peope in general,’ the South Africa native said.
When asked how his employees who feel at risk would feel coming into work Musk replied, ‘Great, stay at home…If they have a legitimate reason to be at risk then they should stay at home.’
Swisher pressed further asking him to step into the shoes of his employees who feel daunted to work amid the pandemic.
‘It has diminished my faith in humanity, the whole thing…the irrationality of peope in general,’ the CEO said on the public response to the pandemic
‘Let’s just move on… Kara, I do not want to get in a debate about the COVID situation,’ Musk briskly replied.
Musk noted that he has been putting effort into the coronavirus pandemic, working with Harvard University’s epidemiology team.
‘We’ve also spent quite a lot of time with the Harvard epidemiology team doing antibody studies, Tesla makes the vaccine machines for CureVac, [Bill] Gates said something about me not doing…like hey knucklehead we actually make the vaccine machines for CureVac, the company you’re invested in,’ Musk said.
Musk said that he isn’t focusing too much on the pandemic and is instead trying to do as much as he can to improve humanity.
Musk tweeted in May that he would reopen his Fremont, California plant in defiance of Alameda County coronavirus regulations and asked that if anyone had to be arrested, it only be him
In May Tesla sued Alameda County for trying to keep the company’s plants closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19
‘I really am just trying to do the most amount of good with the time that I have on this Earth, not really succeeding, but that’s the goal. And then it’s like man, but I got to do this without my head exploding and going to crazy,’ he added.
In the interview the CEO said he thinks Tesla ‘will be worth more in five years’, even as the company’s stock has risen over 400 percent this year alone.
In Musk’s battle to keep Tesla open this year he resumed operations at his Fremont plant in May, which employs 10,000 workers and had been closed since March 23rd due to coronavirus lockdowns, in defiance of Alameda County rules.
‘I will be on the line with everyone else,’ he said at the time. ‘If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.’
Business Insider reported at the time that at least three employees said Tesla asked workers to return to the facility with phone calls and text messages. If they refused, they risked losing their jobs, the sources claimed.
Under the state’s shelter-in-place orders, only essential business are permitted to operate in California.
Musk said he and his kids are not at risk of contracting COVID-19. Musk pictured above with artist Grimes at the 2018 Met Gala. The couple welcomed their son X Æ A-Xii in May
In an April 29 conference call, Musk argued that the shutdown should be viewed as a ‘serious risk’ to Tesla’s business and went on profanity-laden rant about how the shutdowns were antithetical to America’s founding principles.
Then in July it emerged that three Tesla workers claimed they were fired for choosing to stay home due to the pandemic instead of reporting to work at the Fremont, California plant.
‘The company, Elon included, they don’t really care about the health and well-being of the employees,’ said Nayo Miller, a 39-year-old from Richmond, California. Miller was given a termination notice on June 26 that alleged he had abandoned his job.
He added: ‘The manufacturing of the vehicles supersedes our safety.’
Musk is a father to six living children. In May he welcomed his baby son X Æ A-Xii with singer Grimes.