Mr Musk made the announcement receiving the Axel Springer Award, which is given to individuals who are “particularly innovative”, who “generate and change markets, influence culture” and who “face up to their responsibility to society.”
At the show, Mr Musk spoke about the future of Mars exploration and the development of Tesla on stage, saying that he predicted human beings would reach Mars “six years from now; if we’re lucky, maybe four years” and his aim to send an unmanned craft to the Red Planet in two years.
Following Mr Musk, Berlin’s Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn took the stage, who spoke about how he had spoken to Musk about the coronavirus pandemic and the work that is being done to develop a vaccine.
“However, I have heard that Elon Musk himself does not intend to get vaccinated,” Mr Spahn said, referring to comments Musk made in September.
“Well, I’ve already had COVID”, Musk replied from his seat. It is currently unclear whether contracting the coronavirus guarantees immunity.
Mr Musk has previously cast doubt on the effectiveness of coronavirus tests. “Something extremely bogus is going on”, Musk tweeted. “Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.”
The CEO has made numerous claims about the coronavirus, including promoting studies that doctors are inflating case numbers in order to profit and shared a paper on the benefits of chloroquine which Twitter has flagged as “potentially spammy or unsafe”.
During the height of the pandemic, Mr Musk predicted that the US would see zero cases of COVID-19 by April; at time of writing, there have been 13.8 million cases of coronavirus in the US and 271,000 people have died from the disease.
Futher comments from Mr Musk include calling the coronavirus lockdowns “fascist” for “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes” and was criticised by an infectious disease expert for the “false and dangerous misinformation that he is spreading.”
Mr Musk also ignored coronavirus restrictions to reopen operations at a Nevada Gigafactory, days after employees were told that the plant would only partially open.
The Independent has reached out to Musk and Axel Springer for comment.
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