The most important design object of our time was more than a century in the making.
It’s hard to think of a symbol of COVID-19 more fraught than the N95 respirator. The mask fits tightly around the face and is capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles, such as viruses, from the air, which other protective equipment (such as surgical masks) can’t do. It’s a life-saving device that is now in dangerously short supply. As such, it has come to represent the ineptitude, greed, and even hopelessness of the global response to COVID-19.
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