Tesla’s CEO is an opponent of anti-Covid-19 restrictions. Dr Anthony Fauci is the face of America’s response to the pandemic.
In an action movie, they would be fighting each other.
They would be the good guy and the villain, the yin and yang.
The real question is, who is who. For their supporters, the other one is the problem. Elon Musk and Dr. Anthony Fauci are, in a way, the two faces of the reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.
Musk has never made a secret of his opposition to the restrictions put in place at the federal and state levels to limit the spread of Covid-19. He was particularly critical of lockdowns, which he said were taking away basic freedoms.
He had made clear his disdain for the Covid-19 mandates. The Techno King, as he’s known at Tesla, has not hesitated to tweet about his often contentious viewpoints. Some of his tweets against mandates for protecting people from Covid-19 were proven false, like stating that the virus does not affect children.
“Kids are essentially immune, but elderly with existing conditions are vulnerable. Family gatherings with close contact between kids & grandparents probably most risky,” he wrote in March 2020, when the pandemic was just starting in the United States.
Musk, Champion of anti-Covid Mandates
“Based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April,” the billionaire also wrote the same day. “With or without closures, social distancing, widespread testing, travel restrictions, and people carrying masks, my liege?”
Many tweets about the pandemic were not well received, such as when, in March 2020, he said that the Covid-19 “panic is dumb.”
On April 30, 2020, Musk launched a scathing criticism of anti-Covid-19 measures, during Tesla’s first-quarter-earnings call.
“I should say we are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk,” Musk began.
“We only have two car factories right now, one in Shanghai and one in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area produces the vast majority of our cars, all of S and X, and most of the 3 and all of the Y.”
“So, the extension of the shelter-in-place or, frankly, I would call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional alliance, that’s my opinion, and breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country.”
On May 11, 2020, a defiant Musk said in a tweet that “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules, I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”
This fierce opposition to the government efforts has made Musk the anti-Covid champion. Opposite to him, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become the respectable face for the people worried about this disease and its deadly consequences.
Fauci was an adviser to former President Donald Trump and then to Joe Biden on Covid-19. He will retire from government service this month. He will leave his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a position he has held since the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
In 2020, Fauci, already famous in the world of infectious diseases and the fight against AIDS, but still little known to the general public, was thrust into the limelight by joining the White House Coronavirus Task Force. His simple, tirelessly repeated messages made him the reassuring figure that America needed at the time.
But he gradually became the favorite target of conservatives and the anti-vaccine movement, in the context of a very strong politicization of the health crisis in America.
There was no doubt that Musk and Fauci were going to face each other eventually, as the billionaire, who loves provocation, would find a way to orchestrate a clash between them. He just did in the form of what appears to be a joke at Fauci’s expense. The bad joke or dark humor mixes Fauci with wokeism, one of Musk’s great enemies.
“My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” Musk posted on December 11.
His use of the word “pronouns” points to gender identity. In this context, wokeism wants people to stop assuming that gender is binary and to accept that everyone has the right to decide how they want to be referred to: he/his/him, she/hers/her or they/theirs/them. Interestingly, Musk also used the word “prosecute” in his joke, suggesting that the billionaire wants to hold Fauci responsible for the Covid mandates.
The tweet had already been liked by nearly 800,000 users at the time of writing. Comments were divided. Many Twitter users were digging out Musk’s tweets, full of Covid misinformation, to remind him that it was Fauci who was right about the disease.
“This you?” commented one Twitter user.
“Still of this advice?” added another user.
Musk’s mocking tweet comes at a time when health authorities are again reporting a resurgence of the virus. There is, however, a kind of Covid fatigue as Fauci himself recognizes.
“We’re doing much, much lower from a percentage point that we shouldn’t be doing you know, in some respects, that may be understandable, because people want to be done with Covid,” Fauci told Fox 5 New York on December 10.
The nation’s top infectious-disease expert added: “We’ve all been exhausted over the last three years. But there still is a lot to do to protect yourself and your family and, ultimately, your community.”