This week, we’re sharing stories from Shawn Yuan, Marty Munson, Anna Merlan, Lauren Collins, and Drew Magary.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

1. Inside the Early Days of China’s Coronavirus Coverup

Shawn Yuan | Wired | May 1, 2020 | 14 minutes (3,696 words)

“The dawn of a pandemic — as seen through the news and social media posts that vanished from China’s internet.”

2. What It Feels Like to Compete at the Biggest Ice Swimming Race in North America

Marty Munson | Men’s Health | April 30, 2020 | 17 minutes (4,255 words)

“The first five minutes — especially when it’s below 60 — can be so painful and you think, I don’t want to do this. But when you’re swimming in training, within ten minutes, your body goes numb and there’s this adrenaline and a thrill. I don’t understand it, but it’s incredible.”

3. I Tried Hypnosis to Deal with My Pandemic Anxiety, and Got Something Much Weirder

Anna Merlan | Vice Magazine | May 5, 2020 | 14 minutes (3,565 words)

“When I stepped through the door, I told him, I found myself in a room entirely lined with aquariums, in which large, spotted, neon-colored fish were floating. It felt peaceful, I told Brown. ‘There’s some purpose here. I’m not worried about the fish, they’re being taken care of.’”

4. Missed Calls

Lauren Collins | The New Yorker | May 4, 2020 | 13 minutes (3,423 words)

Lauren Collins’ father died in March of leukemia as the pandemic began to unfold, forcing her to learn to grieve in a time of enforced isolation. This essay is a remembrance of her father and an exploration of grieving from a distance.

5. I’m On a Pancake-only Breakfast Diet and I Wish I Started This Sooner

Drew Magary | SF Gate | May 4, 2020 | 7 minutes (1,979 words)