Elon Musk wants to talk with the coronovirus test manager.
The CEO of SpaceX distributed another problematic Twitter thread this weekend, this time with a series of inconsistent statements about the accuracy of COVID-19 clinical trials. The billionaire questioned how it is possible that he obtained two negative and two positive results from four rapid antigen tests.
Enter postdoctoral researcher Emma Bell who specializes in “bioinformatics”, which is basically analyzing biological data. Bell’s screen-shedded Musk’s tweet explains why he was so misguided, and then carelessly removed Sal’s devastating nickname: Space Karen.
Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed. They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19, when you are completely upset with it. What's bogus is that Karen did not read on the test before complaining to her millions of followers. pic.twitter.com/a1Snfpm03h
– Emma Bell PhD (@ emmabell42) November 14, 2020
Bell’s tweet went viral, and it’s easy to see why: the more you think about it, the more Musk is the total space Karen.
The Kearns think and act in their own interests, without thinking how to call the police, complain to the manager, or doubt the veracity of science can affect others. As Bell explains, it is extremely Karen to call millions of followers “something wrong”, assuming that your personal experience constitutes enough information to doubt scientists’ best practices.
So yes, it’s Elon. Space as well!
In this case, Musk misunderstood that the COVID-19 test is not the world’s most accurate ‘dirty choice’. Many Twitter users broke it for Musk, and Bell wrote a helpful medium post with a more in-depth explanation, noting:
Rapid antigen tests work by detecting proteins found on the surface of the virus. The higher the number of virus particles in your body, the more likely you are to detect it. The number of virus particles increases as soon as symptoms appear. In days, even hours, the probability of a false negative increases, on either side of the peak viral load. COVID-19 is 2 days before symptoms emerge. Thus, a rapid antigen test may well return a false negative when an infected person needs to be isolated.
Bell may not have actually coined the term Space Karen, but he certainly used it with Amplomb. A Twitter user attributed his origin to a tweet from a now-suspended account, but we have not been able to confirm it.
This is not the first time Musk has spread misinformation about COVID-19. After repeatedly reducing the risk of coronovirus, he tweeted that the children are “essentially immune.” it is not true.
It is the least regrettable to believe Musk’s ability to know everything about everything. But at least we will always have space Karen.
I always thought that the phrase ‘Internet won’ was a bit hard, but before that someone would refer to Elton Musk as Space Karen.
– Cluedont (@cluedont) November 16, 2020