Elon Musk. Picture: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/REUTERS
Elon Musk. Picture: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/REUTERS

1. Pretoria’s richest son

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person, after yet another surge in the electric car company’s share price lifted his net worth $7.2bn to $127.9bn. He now sits behind Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, who is worth $181.4bn. Only last week the SA-born entrepreneur bumped Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg out of the third-richest spot. Gates, who has donated $50bn to charity, is worth a paltry $127.7bn. Musk could net a $55.8bn bonus should Tesla’s market value, now almost $500bn, climb to $650bn. Zuckerberg, worth $102bn, fell to fourth spot this week, behind LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault.

2. Virus learning

The consensus among experts at the start of the pandemic was that closing schools would do little to help contain the spread of the virus. This was largely because the virus didn’t seem to infect children at the same rate as adults. But the evidence has changed. University of Western Australia epidemiologist Zoë Hyde writes in The Conversation that schools have been a driver of the second wave in Europe and elsewhere. It is likely that children transmit the virus at the same rate as adults, though they might not be as easy to diagnose due to their often milder symptoms. Hyde urges all schools to take serious precautions against Covid, including wearing masks.

3. Inspiring women

Two SA women, social activist Ishtar Lakhani and singer-songwriter Bulelwa Mkutukana, have made the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2020. Lakhani is a leading member of the international Free the Vaccine for Covid-19 campaign, which wants to ensure that a vaccine will be affordable for all who need it. Mkutukana, better known by her stage name Zahara, has spoken out about violence against women.

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