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Elon Musk Criticized for Tweeting 'Free America Now' Over Coronavirus Lockdowns

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Apr. 29 2020, Published 1:12 p.m. ET

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has already been the target of much controversy when it comes to coronavirus, but now the billionaire is being called out on social media for appearing to call for an end to lockdowns.

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On Wednesday morning, Elon Musk simply tweeted: "FREE AMERICA NOW." 

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One commenter replied: "The scariest thing about this pandemic is not the virus itself, it’s seeing American so easily bow down & give up their blood bought freedom to corrupt politicians who promise them safety."

To which Musk responded: "True." 

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Many states are currently in the process of ending lockdowns, though some are more reluctant than others to allow non-essential businesses to open due to fears over the potential of a second spike in coronavirus cases. States are also at different stages of reopening because of differing conditions.

Many social media users were quick to criticize Musk over these tweets, with one doctor writing: "I'm not here to cancel or bully you. I just want to inform you and your audience why I believe stay-at-home orders are the right thing to do for the coronavirus pandemic. On April 16, around 5,000 people died from COVID19. Extrapolating that for a year is 1.8 million."

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"And most of those deaths were from NYC. If this was nationwide without a lockdown, it would be much higher than 5K/day. But even if it stayed at that number, 1.8 million dwarfs heart disease (647,000) and cancer (609,000), which are the number 1 and 2 causes of death in the US."

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Others referred to Musk's earlier tweets. Back in March, Musk suggested to one of his followers that coronavirus cases would "probably" drop to zero by the end of April.

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This Twitter user highlighted a quote that Musk had shared about the important of listening to science. 

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"I don't wanna hear anything else about Elon Musk and how he wants to help save the world," another added.

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Others were more supportive of Musk, with one writing: "When the smartest man in the world is saying this, it is time to FREE AMERICA!"

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Musk has already been the target of much controversy when it comes to coronavirus. Musk offered to make thousands of ventilators in March, though according to CNN, many of them were late in being delivered to hospitals. 

"Elon Musk and his team told the state that he had procured ventilators and wanted to distribute them directly to hospitals with shortages," a spokesperson for the California governor's Office of Emergency Services told CNN. "The Administration is communicating every day with hospitals across the state about their ventilator supply and to date, we have not heard of any hospital system that has received a ventilator directly from Tesla or Musk." 

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Musk said the report is false, calling on California Gov. Newsom to "please fix this misunderstanding."  

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He later went on to claim that he "receipts," sharing screenshots of emails between Tesla employees and Los Angeles officials that said the ventilators had been tested. He also tweeted out a "partial list" of hospitals that has received ventilators from Tesla.

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Musk was also criticized for sending BiPAP machines and not the more-expensive life-support ventilators, to a number of hospitals. These machines are typically used for problems like sleep apnea, and not life-support.

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Musk defended himself on Twitter, writing: "Moreover, all hospitals were given exact specifications of Resmed & Philips ventilators before delivery & all confirmed they would be critical."

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Musk continued: "Invasive ventilators are for worst case patients. Survival rate at that point is low, as Gov Cuomo has pointed out. Nonetheless, we start delivery of intratracheal Medtronic units in NYC tonight."

The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.   

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