A positive Covid-19 diagnosis forced Elon Musk to sit out the launch of four astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday night. Musk tested positive for the illness last week, but reckoned “something extremely bogus” was afoot when two rapid tests came back positive, and another two negative.
Musk’s tweet ruffled some feathers online, and commentators accused the eccentric billionaire of stirring mistrust in coronavirus testing. MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin called his tweet “irresponsible,” but one Canadian professor of bioinformatics stole the show by calling Musk a “Space Karen,” before lecturing him on how the kind of rapid tests Musk received “trade sensitivity for speed.”
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
The SpaceX founder’s Twitter ramblings and Covid-skepticism have seen him dubbed ‘Space Karen’ before, but the professor’s comment drew fresh laughter.
— dan hett (@danhett) November 16, 2020
I’m going back to bed as nothing I write today will better ‘Space Karen’. https://t.co/mbMYB4CKQ4
— Danielle Ward (@captainward) November 16, 2020
However, some commenters chimed in to make fun of the professor, a self-described “nonbinary + queer” academic, whose Twitter bio comes complete with gender-neutral “they/them” pronouns, among a host of social-justice buzzwords.
😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭The thing behind this twitter account is calling someone a Karen😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/XMEDP7UqgW
— ILukkaaOnYT (@LukkaaI) November 16, 2020
They/them nonbinary + queer + depression/anxiety Phd lecturing about text that she didn't understand in the first place. Really bright future ahead. https://t.co/cLFfgYfz9A
— Sarael (@lord_sarael) November 16, 2020
Musk described his symptoms as like those “of a minor cold,” though “more body achy and cloudy head than coughing and sneezing.” Nevertheless, he was forced to watch remotely as his Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Florida on Sunday night, bound for the International Space Station and carrying four astronauts inside the Crew Dragon capsule dubbed ‘Resilience’.
The launch was praised by NASA as historic, signaling both the first time a commercially developed spaceship is being used on a regular ISS mission, and the official return of the US capability for launching astronauts into space, lost with the closure of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
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