WSJ, Elon Musk, and Covid-19

Image from Pixabay

Elon Musk has made the news recently by violating Alameda County’s lockdown orders for non-essential businesses. Ranting on twitter about the “illegal” order, without citing law or legality, Musk opened the Tesla factory requesting that only he be arrested, if anybody.

Musk has only demonstrated his being a crybaby, if nothing else. Well, that and white privilege. Among a litany of other reasons Musk doesn’t deserve a single thing he has, his temper tantrum and putting people’s lives at risk is par for the course.

Meanwhile, the editorial staff at WSJ put out an article today stating that Musk is “our” new “ACLU.” While a friend of mine published a legal examination of the claims made, I’d like to offer a historical perspective on the claims.

The first claim is that, as CEO, Musk has an obligation to Tesla’s shareholders to continue to deliver vehicles. This “gives him a material and compelling justification for his defiance.”

I suppose the WSJ assumes this “justifies” the likely spread of Coronavirus, something Musk is on record stating would disappear by last month. And the deaths that will follow suit.

Tesla is responsible for creating 51,000 jobs through its California office, including supply chain. The factory, itself, employees at least 10,000 people.

Alameda County, where the Tesla factory is located, has had 2,100 confirmed cases with 74 confirmed deaths. Santa Clara county appears to be the only county in northern California with more than that. And those are only the confirmed cases, forget those that lack health insurance or People of Color are being hit harder than others. This is something Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez pointed out to Musk, after some choice words.

The same WSJ opinion piece said people in the early 20th century thrived once they learned to “live with” the flu pandemic. But…that’s not what happened at all.

The 1918 influenza pandemic was a product of avian origins, identified in military personnel first. It went on to infect 1/3 of the world’s population, with 50 million deaths worldwide. Over 600,000 deaths were those of US citizens. What led to a “flattening of the curve,” as we’re hoping to see in the modern pandemic, was brought on by social distancing, isolation, personal hygiene, disinfectants, and the limiting of public gatherings. Namely, everything Dr. Fauci and medical experts are advocating for today.

People during the 1918 pandemic were also recovering from World War I; a time when scientists and medical experts were relied upon for their opinions to make decisions. It was a time when Germ Theory was finally understood and being put into practice. So people took them seriously. They listened. They wore gauze masks, funerals were limited to 15 minutes, and, when infections were identified, a white scarf was tied on their doorknob to warn the public.

Right now, projections are estimating almost 150,000 deaths by early August. With states reopening sooner than they should, or public beaches lifting bans before states are ready, cases are booming across the US. Right now the US has 4.25% of the world’s population, and almost 1/3 of the world’s coronavirus cases.

In other words, if we continue to move forward with a laissez faire attitude, looking to benefit shareholders with no mind for the employees and their families, we can expect to surpass the projections for August.

MA Theology, BA Music. Author of “What Happens After Life?”. Mental health advocate with PTSD

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