Not all heroes in the fight to mitigate the spread of coronavirus wear capes.
But one found himself the butt of a Melbourne hospital cohort’s jokes when he was admitted with a magnetised nose, after his bid to invent a device that stops people touching their faces failed.
Australian astrophysicist Dr Daniel Reardon attempted to stave off the boredom of self-isolation by developing a necklace that sounded an alarm whenever a user’s hands were close.
Using some super-strong magnets, Dr Reardon’s invention had the opposite effect – the device would continuously buzz unless he moved his hands towards his face.
Giving up, the Melbourne-based 27-year-old took to placing magnets on his earlobes, and then his nostrils, to wile away the time.
That’s when his curiosity got the better of him.
“I started mindlessly placing the magnets on my face. First my ear lobes, then my nostrils – like a magnetic piercing,” Dr Reardon told the BBC.
“The problem was when I put magnets in my other nostril. They all pinched together, and the ones on my septum got stuck.”
Facing a comical medical dilemma, Dr Reardon tried using other magnets to pry those fused to his nose apart, but only added to his concerns.
“Using my last two magnets in a futile attempt to remove the magnets, and getting those stuck too, I knew I was in trouble,” he said.
Following a last-ditch effort to try and pluck the four magnets out with pliers – which also became “magnetised” – his partner drove him to their local hospital.
But not just any hospital: The same one his partner works at.
Thankfully the magnets were eventually freed, courtesy of some local anaesthetic and two doctors who apparently possess some form of superhuman strength.
As for the face touching-prevention device?
Well, it’s fair to say Dr Reardon is not as attracted to that prospect any more.
“I think I’ll give up and let someone more qualified give it a go,” he said.