Elon Musk has called for the United States lockdown to be lifted despite the country reaching 1m coronavirus infections yesterday.
The Tesla founder and multi-billionaire tweeted ‘FREE AMERICA NOW’.
Earlier this week, the counties around the San Francisco Bay area extended shelter-in-place rules until the end of May.
On March 19 Musk tweeted that ‘on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April’.
In fact the total has doubled in the US in the last 18 days, despite widespread lockdown measures across the states with varying degrees of severity.
There have been more than 58,000 deaths from the disease.
Musk, who has 33.4m followers, once called one of the Tham Luang cave rescuers a ‘pedo guy’ on his Twitter – a remark for which he was forced to apologise and faced legal action.
Before his ‘Free America’ tweet Musk tweeted: “Give people their freedom back!” with a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that suggests the lockdowns have not saved that many lives but have shattered local economies.
Musk later clarified that he did not think all shops and businesses should be reopened immediately.
Replying to another user on Twitter he said: “Yes, reopen with care & appropriate protection, but don’t everyone under de facto house arrest”.
The shelter-in-place rules have closed many non-essential businesses, including Tesla’s vehicle manufacturing plant in Fremont, since March.
Musk also took at shot at his home turf of Silicon Valley.
“Silicon Valley has become Sanctimonious Valley,” tweeted Musk, who then said the area was “Too much the moral arbiter of the world.”
Today the UK’s ambassador to the US backed calls for an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus and the response of the World Health Organization, but said the first priority should be containing the outbreak.