Elon Musk was recently clowned on Twitter after he tested both positive and negative for COVID-19 and proceeded to call the tests "extremely bogus." Now the Tesla CEO has earned himself the new nickname of "Space Karen," with many people pointing out why his since-deleted tweets are misleading. One doctor on Twitter, Emma Bell, even got the phrase Space Karen to trend after highlighting how different types of tests actually work.
"Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed," wrote Emma Bell. "They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19 when you're absolutely riddled with it. What's bogus is that Space Karen didn't read up on the test before complaining to his millions of followers."
In a follow-up tweet, Bell showed how three different types of coronavirus tests actually work.
"This graph shows the probability of COVID-19 detection for the available tests," wrote Bell. "Rapid antigen tests(orange) only give low false negative results for a couple of days. Space Karen's results (2 neg, followed by 2 pos later that day) are completely in line with this."
Rapid antigen tests trade sensitivity for speed. They return a result in <30 minutes, but can only detect COVID-19 when you're absolutely riddled with it. What's bogus is that Space Karen didn't read up on the test before complaining to his millions of followers. pic.twitter.com/a1Snfpm03h
— Emma Bell PhD (@emmabell42) November 14, 2020
In his initial tweets on the subject, Musk said "two tests came back negative, two came back positive." He claimed it was the from the "same machine" and was the "same test" and "same nurse." While he's right that the rapid antigen isn't entirely accurate, his leap toward misleading conspiracy theory type tweets rightfully earned him criticism. In the days that followed, he later admitted he was, in fact, experiencing symptoms and had a "moderate" case of the virus.
So essentially, genius scientist Elon Musk didn't seem to understand that the type of test he took isn't always accurate. Certain tests are more sensitive to the virus and more accurate, while others are faster and might not return a positive test unless the individual is, as Emma Bell wrote, "absolutely riddled with it."
It's also worth adding that Bell didn't claim credit for the name "Space Karen," but certainly helped popularize it. Check out what Twitter had to say about Elon's new nickname below.
The academic who called Elon Musk ‘Space Karen’ won Monday for me.
— Zamandlovu Ndlovu (@Ms_ZamaNdlovu) November 16, 2020
In which Elon Musk’s poor COVID-science fluency leads an epigeneticist to call him “Space Karen.” https://t.co/5W9vyHVNSZ
— Bartley Kives (@bkives) November 16, 2020
Live footage of me clicking to see why "Space Karen" is trending: pic.twitter.com/bzSPtk0j4v
— TimOS 3.4 Amazon FC Ambassador (United Ireland) (@gothytim) November 16, 2020
Well done, Dr. Bell. https://t.co/rsYpZ5zb3t
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) November 16, 2020
This is what Elon Musk aka Space Karen sounds like to me 😂 pic.twitter.com/bPFokIeuZX
— Dania (@daniarv25) November 16, 2020
Space Karen is gonna stick lol pic.twitter.com/WSJHajgbr1
— Oral Forrest Jr (@oforrestjr) November 16, 2020
— Dr. Mike 😷Wear a Mask😷 (@EmergMedDr) November 16, 2020
Going thru Monday after waking up and seeing Elon Musk was labeled a “Space Karen” ... pic.twitter.com/RSVWz3laHy
— teatime75 (@teatime75) November 16, 2020
Every word uttered by Elon Musk (aka Space Karen) https://t.co/NZIS2kDMCF
— P.E.A.D. (@blane9171) November 16, 2020
There is no Elon Musk. There is only Space Karen. https://t.co/zfvkggYB7z
— Percy the Mars Rover (@PercyRover) November 16, 2020
They are calling Elon Musk “Space Karen” and I am a billion times here for it. https://t.co/oIz6SajxTC
— Van Badham (@vanbadham) November 16, 2020
— dan hett (@danhett) November 16, 2020
Sign up for the Complex Newsletter for breaking news, events, and unique stories.