Elon Musk’s decision to reopen Tesla’s Bay Area production plant last May despite county lockdown orders was followed by more than 100 COVID-19 cases at the plant, according to newly released data. After repeatedly railing against local lockdown measures, the Tesla CEO famously declared in May, as coronavirus cases were spreading nationwide, that the company would be “restarting production today against Alameda County rules.” The Fremont plant, with approximately 10,000 employees, had recorded about 10 cases of the virus that month, but the number of cases steadily grew after that, finally reaching 125 in December, according to county health data released by the transparency website PlainSite on Friday.
The number of cases jumped to 19 in June, and then surged to 58 by July before hitting 86 in August, according to the data. Several employees at the plant had protested last summer after they said employees who accepted the company’s offer to remain home over COVID fears were terminated in apparent retaliation. Musk himself has repeatedly come under fire for dismissing the severity of the virus, and he famously predicted last March that the nation would have “close to zero” cases by April. On Friday, even as the data revealed a spike in cases at the Fremont plant, he was back at it again, baselessly suggesting on Twitter that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should not be trusted.