Potatoes for Peace understand COVID-19

May 06, 2020

Like many people, It’s been an unsettling time for the Potato people, back in London at the Potatoes for Peace HQ they are unable to conduct their in-person school programmes with students as they are in lockdown.

There have been no cases of COVID 19 reported amongst the Potato people; nevertheless, they have been abiding by the rules and have been staying at home. Being curious spuds, they attempted to understand COVID 19 by watching the news, reading medical books, the latest research and looking online but the vast amount of information available made it overwhelming. So, the Potato people decided to interview some medical experts to find some answers to their questions explained in a jargon-free way.

The Potato people approached Professor Richard Coker who is a doctor who has worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for about 20 years doing research on infectious diseases and is now based in Thailand.

“The Coronavirus everybody is talking about is a new virus that jumped from an animal to infect a human. After that it jumped to another human and that’s when a chain of infections happened. So, coronaviruses are infectious diseases. That means they’re bugs that jump from human to human”, says Professor Coker.

“When did Coronavirus start?”, asks Elina Potato

“Well, we think this new Coronavirus infection in humans started in China. It probably came originally from a bat. Bats, for some reasons that aren’t completely clear, have a lot of infections with lots of different viruses. But in bats these viruses don’t make them ill. What seems to have happened is the virus ‘jumped’ from a bat to another animal and then from that animal to a human. We think it probably happened in a market where animals are sold and they’re kept close to each other and can mix with people too. After it spread to one human it then started spreading to others and spread rapidly”, explains Coker

Mei Ann Potato is still unclear and asks: “why has the virus spread to so many countries?”

“That’s a great question”, responds Prof Coker enthusiastically, explaining further:

“As it spread to humans it quickly spread across the city in China. That city has lots of roads and a very big airport where thousands of people fly out of every day to countries all over the world. Some people, who were at the time probably not very ill, got on planes and they carried the virus to new countries. From there other people got infected and passed it on to other people. In that way, in just a few months, one infection to a person in China spread around the world to infect millions of people. It’s a sign of how much, how far, and how fast we can travel. And if germs have infected us, they act as passengers”

“I see. This is why there’s a lockdown”, blurts Mei Ann Potato, excitedly.

“Indeed. One way to try and slow the spread of the infection is to try and stop it jumping between people. We can do this by trying to test who has the virus infection. And once we do that, we can ask them to spend a lot less time with other people so they don’t spread it. This works well when there aren’t that many infections. But when, for example, a whole city has lots of people with the infection, it’s more difficult. So, in addition to this, we ask cities to ‘lockdown’. This means we ask people to stop going out, stop going to work and stop seeing their friends”, explains Prof Coker

And finally, the Potato people understand the exact reason for why they have had to stay at home and, also, realise why it’s so important.

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World Health Day 2020: Health and HumanityPotatoes for Peace: COVID 19, and the human body
All comments (2)
  • Rahman
    May 07, 2020 at 4:34 am


  • Connie
    May 07, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Potatoes are asking very important questions, and this jargon-free way of communication definitely help ease the unnecessary panic.


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