Elon Musk has not been quiet about the Coronavirus pandemic, which he thinks is “dumb” as he longs for freedom and demonstrated his pandemic-predicting and math skills when he predicted that there would be “zero new cases in US by end of April,” which is basically accurate, give or take 2.59 million. He also defied Alameda County public health orders and opened Tesla’s Fremont, California factory a week earlier than the county’s set date. If you want to know how that may have affected infection numbers, too bad, because the Alameda County Public Health Department won’t tell you, according to reporting done by the Los Angeles Times.
With 10,000 people working at Tesla’s factory, the question of how many of them have contracted COVID-19 seems pretty reasonable to ask, since understanding where outbreaks are clustered is crucial in helping to find ways to contain the spread of the virus.
While Tesla’s head of health and safety has acknowledged that they have had some workers contract COVID-19, they also claimed they had “zero workplace transmissions” despite not providing any evidence to confirm how they could possibly know that.
The LA Times story reports that Alameda County has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Northern California, up 104 percent, and that San Joaquin county, the county with cheaper, non-insane housing prices where many factory workers live, has seen a jump in cases from the factory opening date of 149 percent, up to 1,550.
The Times story also reports that while the Alameda County Health Department has data that could inform how much Tesla’s factory re-opening is contributing to the COVID-19 spread, they are not revealing that information.
Alameda County is citing a federal health privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as why they are keeping the data private, even though the release of aggregated data for large groups of people shouldn’t pose any individual privacy concerns, and would help the overall public health a great deal.
Alameda County already caved when Elon Musk defied orders and opened the factory early, and now it sure looks like they’re helping to mask infection rates from the factory. The Times was unable to get a statement from Alameda County officials, and, of course, Tesla didn’t respond, because they never seem to, anymore.