'Space Karen' Trends After Doctor Calls Out Elon Musk for Doubting COVID-19 Tests

Joe Price
·4 min read

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."

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.

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