What is more likely to kill you -- the novel coronavirus or a car crash? While this is a question that many people have not yet pondered, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has an answer.
The business leader who had recently taken to Twitter to rather eloquently call the coronavirus "dumb" told SpaceX employees by means of a memo on Friday that they were far less likely to die from COVID-19 than car crashes.
In fact, according to a BuzzFeed News report, Musk does not consider that the novel coronavirus even ranks within the top 100 health ricks that the US is facing.
Now while we don't quite agree with that assessment, Musk may actually have a point with regards the car vs coronavirus part of his memo, at least to an extent.
According to a WHO fact sheet from February, "approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes".
In the US, over 1,600 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have so far been reported, while more than 40 people have died. According to a report in The New York Times that cited an estimate by health officials, if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not contained soon, between 160 million and 214 million Americans may become infected in the worst case scenario.
And while this number is significant, the coronavirus has a low mortality rate. According to a WHO report, the crude mortality ratio, that is, the number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases, is between 3-4%. The infection mortality rate, the organisation opines, will be lower.
However, to add to this, Musk believes that the fatality rate is "greatly overstated".
"Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high," he had earlier said.
Taken in conjunction, one might better understand his reasoning. It is however impossible to dismiss a outbreak that has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and has killed over 5,000 people. Globally, it has infected over 132,500 people in 123 nations.
Most netizens however were not in agreement with Musk.