If you loaded up the Google homepage anytime today, you’d have noticed that there is there is a well dressed, mustachioed gentleman taking the place of the O in Google, with the other O being replaced by a pair hands being washed.
Today, Google’s new Doodle is a video that illustrates the proper way to wash one’s hands. The man on the Google homepage is actually Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician who is “widely attributed as the first person to discover the medical benefits of hand washing”. Today marks the anniversary of the father of infection control‘s appointment as Chief Resident at the Vienna General Hospital’s maternity clinic.
The Doodle comes in a time of global crisis, with many countries having closed borders with the COVID-19 outbreak having grown to 242,830 worldwide cases across 170 countries. In Malaysia, 900 cases have been confirmed, and 2 deaths have been reported (figures accurate as of 9amm 20 March 2020).
The topic of maintaining good hygiene habits has come up a lot in light of the outbreak, but Semmelweis realised, back in the 1800s, that doctors needed to disinfect their hands to reduce the spread of diseases. Eventually, Semmelweis was credited with the revolution of the medical field, with the crux of his legacy being that hand washing is “one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases”.
With that in mind, there’s also a poster with some illustrations:
Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has taken over its homepage. But with various parts of the world reeling from the pandemic that is COVID-19, this is one of the more important uses of Google’s Doodles.
If you want to find out more about the situation in Malaysia with the recent imposition of a movement control order from the 18th till the 31st of March 2020, click here.