As the tech and auto industry grapples with cancelled conferences and supply chain disruptions because of the global outbreak of coronavirus, Tesla CEO Elon Musk chimed in on Twitter with his take.
"The coronavirus panic is dumb," the billionaire tech tycoon said Friday afternoon, sparking a debate about whether people are overreacting to the respiratory illness that has killed more than 3,800 people, mostly in China.
"It has been blown way out of proportion," replied one Twitter user.
"It's dumb to panic but people should always be prepared for a pandemic or natural disaster that requires them to stay inside," said another.
Some users questioned whether Musk should publicly express opinions about matters of public health. Others argued that the threat of being quarantined and out of work is reason enough to panic.
"I guess someone with your type of wealth would consider it dumb. The rest of us are figuring out game plans for surviving a worst-case scenario without unlimited resources and money," tweeted @LoveLaughShowUp.
More than a million people liked the Tesla CEO's tweet, which comes after multiple companies in Silicon Valley curtailed travel plans and urged workers to stay home as the virus continued to spread in the US.
On Friday, Apple encouraged its employees in Silicon Valley to work from home as a precaution against coronavirus. Alphabet, Microsoft and others have similar strategies in place.
Tesla hasn't come forward with how the company is dealing with the outbreak's fallout, however, the automaker's Shanghai factory temporarily shut down at the end of January. It reopened in early February.
The World Health Organisation hasn't declared coronavirus a pandemic, though the disease has been reported on every continent except Antarctica. The international health agency recently confirmed that the illness is more lethal than the flu.
And, in recent weeks, people have curtailed going to the gym, backed away from house hunting and canceled travel plans. – USA Today/Tribune News Service