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It’s almost like meme “Well, well, well look how the turntables” has come to life. On Saturday morning, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, SpaceX boss, and serial-meme poster on Twitter, put out a hot take, nobody else seems to have thought of: Why aren’t The Taliban wearing masks? For those out of the loop on Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans rushed onto the tarmac of Kabul's international airport Monday, some so desperate to escape the Taliban capture of their country that they held onto an American military jet as it took off and plunged to death in chaos that killed at least seven people. The crowds of people rushing the airport came as the Taliban enforced their rule over the wider capital after a lightning advance across the country that took just over a week to dethrone the country's Western-backed government. While there were no major reports of abuses, many stayed home and remained fearful as the insurgents' advance saw prisons emptied and armories looted. Since the takeover, the airport has been chaos — while several photos of the Taliban show them ‘settling’ into life in Kabul, by enjoying icecream, riding amusement park rides, and even having a tea-party.
Most of the photos of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan had one thing missing: Face masks. Elon Musk, picked up on just this. Tweeting a photo of the Taliban without masks captioned “not one f**king mask.”
He added his own take too: The Delta variant.
While Musk’s concern is perhaps justified, there are two things wrong it: Firstly, the Afghanistan and the Taliban are a literal war which has started a humanitarian crisis, where people are fleeing for their lives, the threat of the pandemic is perhaps not very high on their list — that applies to the Taliban too.
The Taliban also have another taken on the masks, and the coronavirus pandemic, in general: They never heard of her.
The second problem, is that Musk himself, has not been the poster boy of precautious in the pandemic. If anything, he has been the opposite: the posterboy of not following Covid appropriate behaviour.
Starting right from May 2020 last year when US’s Covid-19 cases started surging, Elon Musk on Monday said production was resuming at the automaker's sole U.S. vehicle factory, in California, defying an order to stay closed and saying if anyone had to be arrested it should be him. The move came after states and cities around the United States experiment with ways to safely reopen their economies after the coronavirus outbreak shuttered businesses and forced tens of millions of Americans out of work. People then too, had called him out for having a newborn at home and with his actions, risking his life, risking his newborn’s lives and the lives of thousands of workers at the factory.
Musk’s irresponsible behaviour didn’t end there. In November, Musk outed himself on the Internet as a covidiot. Musk has said that he tested positive for Covid-19 and then negative on the same day. Musk on Thursday revealed he is having symptoms of a “typical cold” and “nothing unusual so far,” did four tests. “Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for Covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD,” tweeted Musk, who is known for his cavalier attitude towards the disease.
The test that the SpaceX CEO mentioned in the tweet refers to the BD Veritor test, a nasal swabs-based test designed to give results in 15 minutes. Here’s the thing: No test is 100% full proof, the virus was discovered less than a year ago, and the best thing you can do is try to read up about it to understand how it works and what a ‘false positive’ is, and how to know whether you really have it or not. Many people tried pointing this out to him. But Musk didn’t really budge – and the Internet has a term (other than covidiot) to coin for Musk: Space Karen.
In August, this very year, Musk took his unmasked son, X Æ A-Xii to ‘Starbase’ in Boca Chica, and even took his mask off for a photo. We get Elon Musk’s concern for the delta variant, but maybe he should have started practising what he preaches first.