French Fries, an Ocean Voyage, and the Origin of Social Distancing

Four stories about Covid-19 we’re reading today

Yasmin Tayag
Medium Coronavirus Blog
1 min readApr 28, 2020

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  • The closure of Belgium’s bars and restaurants has led to a massive surplus of 750,000 tons of potatoes, which normally would be double-fried and served as frites. Now, reports CNBC, the secretary general of Belgium’s potato industry body is urging citizens to eat fries at least twice a week.
  • Relatedly, experts interviewed by The Counter explain why the surpluses of produce created by Covid-19 can’t just be used to feed the hungry.
  • The coronavirus has disrupted travel plans for everyone, but perhaps these Dutch teens had it the worst. As CNN reports, 24 students at a sailing school in the Caribbean couldn’t fly back to the Netherlands, so they did the only practical thing: sail home—5,180 miles across the Atlantic.
  • Social distancing is a centuries-old concept, but its origins as a federal public health policy in the United States started only 14 years ago, according to a fascinating deep dive in the New York Times. The idea was initially met with scorn and ridicule, as officials believed the country could rely on the pharmaceutical industry.

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Yasmin Tayag
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog. Senior editor at Future Human by OneZero. Previously: science at Inverse, genetics at NYU.