Today, November 13, Elon Musk wrote on his Twitter that he got quite messy results after taking the COVID-19 test and now has the symptoms of a common cold. Musk said he underwent a rapid antigen test four times: two of them showed positive and two – negative. He is also awaiting the results of two PCR tests, though they will be available in 24 hours.
Antigen tests work by detecting a small protein on the surface of the coronavirus, while a more accurate PCR test looks for the virus itself. Antigen tests can be performed fairly quickly because they do not need a laboratory, which is why they are often done in hotspots such as university campuses or nursing homes. According to the FDA, “positive results from antigen tests are very accurate, although the chances of getting false negative results are higher.” It is because of these erroneous negative results that PCR tests are used to prevent the potential spread of the virus. One such Quidel antigen test can detect coronavirus with 85% accuracy. Musk said the antigen test he did belonged to the company BD.
Still, Musk, who has long been a skeptic of Covid, questions the validity of the test and hints at a bit of a conspiracy:
“Something extremely fake is happening. I checked on Covid four times today. Two tests showed negative, two – positive. Same car, same test, same nurse. Fast antigen test from BD.”
Aside from the phrase “something extremely fake is happening,” Musk says that his experience is likely to be familiar to others, and that this affects the ongoing surge in virus cases in the U.S. and abroad. He also responded to a tweet saying that “the proceeds from the tests are probably not fake,” “exactly.”
Musk has long been spreading suspicions, confusion and sometimes outright false information about the coronavirus. He accused doctors of deliberately denouncing the number of cases of the virus for financial gain, and backed a publicly discredited article about the beneficial properties of chloroquine, calling the panic surrounding the pandemic “stupid.” In March, he predicted there would be “almost zero new cases” by the end of April.
There is currently another sudden increase in COVID-19 cases in the US. Just one week after 100,000 cases were recorded in one day on Thursday, November 12, that number reached a record 160,000. The number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus on the same day was a record 67096.