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Elon Musk to Tesla workers during coronavirus: ‘I will personally be at work'

Shawn M. Carter

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and health officials urge people to stay home, Tesla co-founder and chief executive officer Elon Musk says he’ll keep going to work.

The tech billionaire and head of the electric carmaker downplayed the virus in a company email Monday, writing “the harm from coronavirus panic far exceeds that of the virus itself.”

He did note, however, that while he was not aware of any Tesla employee testing positive for COVID-19, he would encourage anyone feeling ill or uncomfortable to stay home.

“I will personally be at work, but that's just me. Totally OK if you want to stay home for any reason,” Musk wrote in the memo sources read over the phone for Reuters. “If you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please do not feel obligated to come to work.”

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Since first reports of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread throughout the world, infecting more than 190,000 people and killing roughly 8,000.

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There were fewer than 6,000 U.S. cases Tuesday afternoon, including at least 300 in the Bay Area, where Tesla is located and where many residents have been told to shelter in place.

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Alameda County declared Tesla an essential business allowed to stay open, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited a county spokesperson familiar with the matter.

Tesla’s stock is up 60 on the year but has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last month.

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