If there has been a main object in this global pandemic of covid-19, it is the mask.
But what is the origin of the also known as chinstrap or mask as a resource to help stop epidemics?
One theory points to the times of the so-called Manchurian plague, which affected much of China in the early 20th century.
One of the doctors who led the fight against this disease was Wu Lien-teh, and he was consider one of the forerunners dwearing a mask for medical procedures, especially of the mshell N-95.
For that reason, Google decided to dedicate his doodle to him this Wednesday, on the anniversary of his birth.
Wu was born on March 10, 1879, in the Penang region of Malaysia.
He was one of the main doctors in the health system under Emperor Puyi of the Qing dynasty, and he decided to use the mask to prevent the spread of the virus that caused the plague.
And for their contributions to the management and control of epidemics, in 1935 he was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the first in his country.
Wu studied Medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and lived in London until 1904, when he returned to his country.
In 1907 he was invited by the Chinese government to work in the service of the Qing dynasty, who was in power.
At the age of three, a series of deaths for unknown reasons was recorded in the region adjacent to the city of Harbin, and it was then that Wu began the work for which he would be recognized.
According to his biography and the obituary published by the specialized magazine The Lancet In 1960 – year in which he died – the doctor identified several problems while visiting the places where they were being treated the afflicted patients of to fish.
“There were sick people who looked destitute, coughing and spitting blood. No one carried protection“says the obituary.
According to the document, half of the doctors and nurses attending the emergency had died from a problem that no one had taken into account and that Wu detected when performing an autopsy on one of the deceased: the virus was spreading through the air.
And it had a lethality close to 100%.
It was there that he came up with a cloth mask, which became the precursor to the N-95 mask, one of the most used, especially by medical personnel, during the covid-19 pandemic.
But it was not the only measure he took: he also isolated the infected, created a shift list for nurses and doctors, fumigated the places of care and Finally recommended the social distancing in medical centers.
He also managed to trace the origin of the disease: it emerged among hunters of marmots, who had been infected from the skins hung in their homes.
In just under three months, Wu managed to control the epidemic.
The doctor lived for years in China, until he returned to his country in 1939, where he died in 1960.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.