May 8, 2020

Weekend reads: Is that rock pile happy to see you—or is it just the social distancing?

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Some Wendy's restaurants are running out of burgers. Over the past month, outbreaks of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, among employees at meatpacking plants throughout the United States have caused the plants to shut down, leading to a decline in the country's meat supply. That meat shortage has now hit Wendy's restaurants, according to a recent analysis by the financial firm Stephens, which found that nearly one-fifth of Wendy's restaurants were entirely sold out of beef products on Monday—including hamburgers.

    The new coronavirus has changed how we talk. "Zoom birthday parties," "drive-by greetings," "quarantine," "face masks," "self-isolation": These are all terms that have become ubiquitous in America amid the new coronavirus epidemic but that weren't frequently used before the virus' spread in the country. Writing for the New York Times, Kate Mooney explores how the new coronavirus has sparked an evolution in the way Americans talk—and what other changes may be coming.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    No, your fridge isn't smiling at you. Researchers have found that people who lack social connection with others tend to compensate by finding human traits, such as faces, in inanimate objects. Writing for the New York Times, Benedict Carey notes that people who are craving human interaction amid the Covid-19 epidemic's social distancing might start seeing faces in "rock piles," "garbage," and other objects—and accompanying photographs by George Etheredge provide some examples.

    How air travel could change post-Covid-19. While passenger traffic for airlines is currently down 95%, it's likely that some people will have to resort to air travel again within the year. And as flight attendance increases, airlines may resort to new safety precautions such as screening passengers for coronavirus antibodies and putting seating barriers in place, according to a new report from SimpliFlying.

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