Medium Rare

Our Favorite Stories About Exploring the Mid-Pandemic World

The Medium Universe is venturing back out into society — and getting stuck along the way

Each week on Medium Rare, I’ll be sharing stories you might have missed that are definitely worth a second look. Got a suggestion for a piece we should feature? Pop it in the responses below!

  • Leave it to the “Happiest Place on Earth” to be one of the first in the world to assemble large crowds during the midst of a deadly global pandemic. Shanghai Disneyland reopened its gates earlier this week, and Jordan Fraser went along for the ride to take part in a moment of history. Between the empty rides, hand-sanitizer stations, and packed performances that seemed to defy the laws of social distancing, Fraser’s journey through the park shows how a little Disney magic can manage to transcend reality — in more ways than intended.
  • D-list celebrities are certainly raking in the quarantine side gigs thanks to Cameo. Ben Longstaff decided to test out the new startup service, where vaguely familiar famous people make personalized videos to share, by hiring the dude who plays Dr. Cox in the sitcom show Scrubs. Not only was Longstaff able to troll his friend with the canned video from actor John McGinley, but it came with the added bonus of a truly atrocious dad joke.
  • In what could easily rival the longest layover in the history of hellish flight plans, Karthik Shivaprasad tells the story of being stranded at the Dubai International Airport for nearly a month. Talk about adjusting to new norms during the height of the Covid-19 outbreak: Shivaprasad had to get used to washing his clothes with bars of soap in the terminal bathrooms, and taking meals from the one remaining open restaurant in the entire airport. “If you eat almost the same food for 21 days, even the tiramisu starts tasting like wheatgrass,” he writes.
  • For anyone wondering whether it’s safe to start flying, Pooji tried it out recently, and though the airports and terminals were eerily empty, she says the entire process was stressful. “It felt like one of the longest flights I have ever taken,” she writes. “That includes the time I spent most of the 5-hour flight in the bathroom with a bout of diarrhea or the time I was on a 17-hour flight with a non-reclining seat near the bathroom and the entertainment system didn’t work.”

Working through a crisis

While some are venturing out into the world for the first time in months, others have been at it since the beginning, and not entirely by choice. Photographer Daniel Passapera chronicled the lives of essential workers in Connecticut and what they’re experiencing while the state is under lockdown. His photographs and interviews provide a poignant snapshot of this bizarre time in our lives where everyone in the world is feeling the pains of this pandemic.

Cheshire resident Mark Venice, 18, works part-time at the local Big Y supermarket. When not at work he’s a normal college student trying to keep up with online classes. His father is considered at risk as he suffers from diabetes.

‘I do the best I can to protect myself from getting it,’ Venice said.

Though there are fewer shoppers as many adhere to the stay-at-home orders, Venice comes in contact with many daily. At the register, employees are required to wear gloves and a mask, wash their hands hourly as well as sanitize the payment terminal after every customer. All of which is done behind the safety of a glass barrier.

Venice, however, remains more cautious than worried and has taken this experience as a moment of self-reflection.

‘I learned to not take what you have [for] granted,’ he said. ‘I’m thankful I still have a job because I know a lot of people are being affected by this and a lot of people are losing their jobs.’

Editor/writer. Words in GEN, The Atlantic, Glamour, The Intercept, MSNBC, NBC News, NYT, Vice, Vox, and more.

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