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Picture: REUTERS/STEVE NESIUS
Picture: REUTERS/STEVE NESIUS

1. Following the flushes

One of the best ways to track the coronavirus, say scientists in the US, is through studying water from toilets.

People shed the virus in their stool, and the virus levels in wastewater provide a strong, independent signal of how much there is, according to a report by Biobot Analytics, which tracks the virus in wastewater across 25 US states.

Samuel Scarpino, MD of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation, which funds such projects around the world, says that instead of banning travel from SA and elsewhere, the US government should have focused on public health measures that might have helped flatten the curve.

2. Moon gets a rocket

Keep an eye on the moon next month, it’s going to be hit by an out-of-control Elon Musk rocket.

The rocket is part of Musk’s SpaceX programme and was launched in 2015. It does not have enough fuel to return to Earth, so it’s been abandoned. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell told BBC News it will be the first uncontrolled rocket collision with the moon. McDowell is not sanguine about a sighting; he says the collision effects will be minor. But we’ll watch, just in case.

3. Vanishing bokkies

Over the past 20 years there has been a dramatic decline in the number of springbok, particularly in the western Kalahari, according to artist Pippa Skotnes, who is studying the phenomenon through archives. There has been an estimated 80% drop in the number of the iconic antelope, SA’s national animal.

Skotnes, principal research professor at the Centre for Curating the Archive at the University of Cape Town, is working on a project that explores the changing relationship between animals and people in the Northern Cape and the southern Kalahari.

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