Chinese dad designs inflatable suit to shield son from coronavirus

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As new cases of coronavirus decline in China, Cao Junjie and his family venture out to enjoy sunny days at a Shanghai amusement park. But the trips are still far from carefree.

Cao wears a big mask to filter out potential droplets which can lead to a coronavirus infection and as for his son, he is in an inflatable suit, looking more like a miniature astronaut than a two-year-old child.

The white suit was created by Cao at home and comes with an electric fan with an air purifier function. There’s also a device to monitor the air quality inside the suit.

“People still need to wear masks because it’s not safe,” says Cao. “I hope my son can wear it amid the epidemic and I hope to provide him with total protection in isolation.”

Cao says the suit is ideal for toddlers because masks are uncomfortable especially for young children and will tempt them to touch their faces – something doctors say is the main cause of infection. The wearer can do most things while wearing the suit – except for blowing bubbles.
No stranger to innovation the father of two decided to make the suit after designing a “baby safety pod” for his two-month-old infant. He went online and found an “inflatable space suit” for children which cost 2,000 yuan (284 USD) and started to modify it.

After a week, it was ready to debut at the park.

The suited toddler and father in a bulky mask turns heads and some wonder if the suit is really effective.

“I am not sure how the filter works and if it really can offer protection,” says a 30-year-old mother surnamed Zhu.

China reported 108 new cases on Sunday (April 12), the highest in nearly six weeks, bringing the total cases in mainland China at 82,160, while the death toll rose by two to 3,341.

The virus, which first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, has since spread around the world, infecting more than 1.8 million people, killing 113,849, as of Monday (April 13).

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