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“Unnecessary Fear Over Coronavirus Pandemic is Not Good For Humanity”, Says Tech Billionaire Elon Musk

This is not the first time Musk has underplayed the danger from COVID-19

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Elon Musk
In a memo to SpaceX employees last week, Musk said that they were far less likely to die from COVID-19 than car crashes. Musk added in the email that he does not think COVID-19 is "within the top 100 health risks in the United States". Wikimedia Commons

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk who thinks the new coronavirus (COVID-19) debate is just ‘dumb,’ on Sunday said that the unnecessary fear over the pandemic is not good for the humanity. “Fear is the mind-killer,” Musk tweeted.

Amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus which has killed nearly 5,000 people in the world, Musk appears to be dancing to his own tune, underplaying the danger from the threat time and again. “Please tell your 32 million followers to listen to social distancing recommendations,” reacted one Musk follower.

Another tweeted: “Hospitals are going to need help, they will be overwhelmed soon. Instead of this horse shit, help spread that message and mobilise resources for our healthcare workers who will desperately need them in coming days.”

In a memo to SpaceX employees last week, Musk said that they were far less likely to die from COVID-19 than car crashes. Musk added in the email that he does not think COVID-19 is “within the top 100 health risks in the United States”.

In the US, over 1,600 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported, while more than 40 people have died due to the disease caused by the virus. According to a report in The New York Times that cited an estimate by health officials, if the spread of the novel coronavirus is not contained soon, between 160 million and 214 million Americans may become infected in the worst case scenario.

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SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk who thinks the new coronavirus (COVID-19) debate is just ‘dumb,’ on Sunday said that the unnecessary fear over the pandemic is not good for the humanity. “Fear is the mind-killer,” Musk tweeted. Pixabay

This is not the first time Musk has underplayed the danger from COVID-19. In a tweet last week, he said that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” “Virality of CoV-19 is overstated due to conflating diagnosis date with contraction date & over-extrapolating exponential growth, which is never what happens in reality. Keep extrapolating & virus will exceed mass of known universe,” the tech billionaire reasoned.

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“Fatality rate also greatly overstated. Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high,” Musk said. (IANS)

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Spread of Fake News on high Rise on Facebook, Twitter Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources

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Fake News
The findings of a researcch show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pixabay

In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures.

Jumbling of content makes viewers less likely to check sources, said the team from Ohio State University, adding that people viewing a blend of news and entertainment on a social media site tended to pay less attention to the source of content they consumed – meaning they could easily mistake satire or fiction for real news.

“The findings show the dangers of people getting their news from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter,” said study author George Pearson, a senior lecturer and research associate in communication at The Ohio State University.

“We are drawn to these social media sites because they are one-stop shops for media content, updates from friends and family, and memes or cat pictures,” Pearson added. People who viewed content that was clearly separated into categories – such as current affairs and entertainment – didn’t have the same issues evaluating the source and credibility of content they read.

“Jumbling of content makes everything seem the same to us. It makes it harder for us to distinguish what we need to take seriously from that which is only entertainment,” said Pearson in the study appeared in the journal New Media & Society. For the study, Pearson created a fictional social media site called “Link Me.”

The 370 participants saw four webpages with either two or four posts each. Each post consisted of a headline and short paragraph summarizing the story, as well as information on the source of the post. The sources were designed to be either high or low credibility, based on their name and description.

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 In novel coronavirus times, there is so much fake news going around and according to new research, there’s a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures. Pixabay

All posts were based on real articles or public social media posts taken from Reddit or Tumblr. The results showed that when the content was not grouped by distinct topics – in other words, news posts appeared on the same page with entertainment posts – participants reported paying less attention to the source of the content.

“They were less likely to verify source information to ensure that it was a credible source,” said Pearson. That may be one reason why satirical and other types of fake news get shared by people who evidently think it is real. One solution would be for social media companies to develop tools to distinguish content.

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But until that happens, it is up to users to pay more attention to where their news is coming from – as difficult as that may be. (IANS)