As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in across the country and the world, millions of Americans’ lives were disrupted as they faced illness, unemployment levels not seen the Great Depression and whiplash-inducing market volatility.
But some billionaires who saw their fortunes dive as the market tanked in March have recovered and even surpassed their previous levels of wealth. Using Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaire List, GoBankingRates.com found that seven of the world’s 50 richest people increased their net worth by more than 50% between March 18 (a week after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and two days after the Dow recorded one its worst one-day point drop in history) and June 4 (when a majority of states had begun to reopen).
Topping that list, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk increased his wealth 55% to more than $38 billion during that time, thanks in part to the recovery of Tesla’s stock price. On March 18, Tesla closed at $361.22 and on June 4 it closed at $864.38. Musk owns roughly 38.7 million shares of Tesla, and in May, Musk earned his first performance-based payout from Tesla, worth more than $700 million, according to CNBC. On Monday, Tesla stock closed at $990.90 and Musk’s current net worth as of Tuesday is up further, at $42 billion, according to Forbes.
Musk has been a controversial figure amid the pandemic. Early on he promised to send ventilators to certain hospitals amid the pandemic but reportedly delivered breathing aid machines instead. (Musk denied this via Twitter.) He has also been a vocal critic of stay-at-home orders, calling them ‘fascist’ during a Telsa earnings call in April.
Another billionaire who has seen his net worth recover since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. From March 18 to June 4 Zuckerberg increased his wealth 52% to over $83 billion, according to the report. On March 18, Facebook closed at $146.96 and on June 4 it closed at $226.29. Zuckerberg owns about 400 million shares of Facebook. On Monday, Facebook stock closed at $232.50 and Zuckerberg’s current net worth as of Tuesday is up further, at $87.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Zuckerberg has donated more than $150 million to Covid-19 charities throughout the pandemic through both Facebook and his philanthropic organization the Chan-Zuckerburg Initiative, according to The Washington Post.
Here is GoBankingRates.com’s list of the seven billionaires whose fortunes went up by more than 50% from March 18 to June 4 (with current net worth information added, according to Forbes).