- AffiliationWuhan Central Hospital, China
If the pandemic has a face, it’s the mask-clad visage of Dr. Li. After becoming one of the first to sound the alarm about a new virus emerging in his city, Li was detained by local Chinese authorities and forced to recant his warning. Within days of his release, the 34-year-old doctor returned to treating patients, only to become infected by the all-too-real disease, and then, on Feb. 7, to succumb to it. Dr. Li’s bravery—both in the face of the coronavirus and the state—inspired China and ultimately the world. (In April, the Chinese government honored Li as a “martyr.”) Dr. Li’s final post on social media site Weibo has become a living memorial, where users flock to post messages and celebrate his life. This digital Wailing Wall, as some have called it, has more than 850,000 posts and stands in rebuke to anyone who does not believe that the voice of one can be the difference between the life or death of thousands.