Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China, January 7, 2019.
Aly Song | Reuters
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Monday that he has Covid.
The announcement comes after Tesla’s factory in Shanghai faced regional Covid restrictions that reportedly require it to suspend production for four days until around April 1. China is shutting down the city in two phases to control a Covid-19 outbreak. Tesla also suspended production in Shanghai for two days earlier in March after officials implemented Covid health orders.
Musk wrote on Monday, “Covid-19 is the virus of Theseus. How many gene changes before it’s not Covid-19 anymore? I supposedly have it again (sigh), but almost no symptoms.” Musk provided no explanation as to how he was tested, or why he had any reason to doubt the results.
Musk has a history of under-estimating the novel coronavirus and balking at health officials.
In February 2020, as Covid began to impact the US, Musk wrongly estimated that the virus would be gone by April 2020. By November 2020, he announced that he had tested positive for Covid.
When Covid numbers were rising in California, in April 2020, Musk called health restrictions “fascist” in an expletive-laden rant during a company earnings call. The CEO kept his company’s Fremont, California plant operating despite health orders but faced no repercussions from the state or Alameda County.
Tesla’s attitude in China is far more cooperative. Reuters said a Tesla spokesperson explained that the company strives to “fulfill its epidemic prevention responsibilities and that it believed Shanghai’s COVID-19 measures helped lay the foundation for the city’s future development.”
CNBC asked Tesla how this may impact production and deliveries. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla delivered 473,078 made-in-Shanghai electric vehicles to its customers in 2021 according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. It now produces Model 3 and Model Y vehicles there, selling them within China and beyond to customers in Europe and throughout Asia.
Tesla is expanding its manufacturing capabilities. It recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new factory underway in Brandenburg, Germany and has obtained conditional approval for commercial production there.
It plans a “Cyber Rodeo” grand opening event for another massive, new factory in Austin, Texas for April 7.
Tesla, like other automakers, is facing widespread chip shortages, inflationary pressure and supply chain disruptions exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But despite the production challenges and Musk’s Covid diagnosis, Tesla shares rallied more than 8% in mid-day trading after the company announced plans for another stock split.