Tag Archives: surgical masks

The forerunner

Shafiqah Samarasam Malaysia   Skyline in Kuala Lumpur with haze. 2004. Photo by Nesnad. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. Southeast Asia has experienced detrimental, large-scale air pollution for decades. Known as the “Southeast Asia haze,” this transboundary pollution is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires in the forests of Indonesia. The lingering smoke results in breathing […]

To wear or not to wear? Attitudes towards mask wearing then and now

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Mellieha, Malta   In September 1918, the Red Cross recommended two-layer gauze masks to halt the spread of “plague.” Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia. More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged around the globe, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial frontlines in the battle against […]

When I heard the learn’d epidemiologist

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, United States   Photo by prottoy hassan on Unsplash  Sitting on the maroon recliner in my den, I am having trouble concentrating on the epidemiologist who is talking on the television. He points to a Covid hot zone on a color-coded map of the United States. The screen changes before I can locate Virginia. […]

Unmasked

Kelley Zhao Stony Brook, New York, United States   Illustration by Sherry Xiao. Provided by the artist. The lecture hall was freezing on the first day of medical school orientation. The room was buzzing with students meeting one another, and the familiar phrases floated around me as I took my seat. “Where are you from?” […]