19 May COVID Heroes: Scientists Are the New Rockstars!
Europe’s new heroes aren’t actors, musicians or politicians. The new celebrities are epidemiologists and virologists. These are the people who are drawing huge virtual crowds around the world during their regularly scheduled briefings. There’s a good reason for their popularity. COVID Heroes: Scientists are the new rockstars!
In a time of political disinformation and delusional happy talk, people want the truth
We need to know what to expect, to be able to make plans. We’ve learned that we can rely on these scientists—not necessarily our politicians–to provide accurate information.
In Italy, Dr. Massimo Galli, an avuncular director of infectious diseases
In a hospital in Milan, Dr. Galli quickly became a familiar face on Italian current-affairs TV shows, delivering no-nonsense updates about the virus. He called social distancing “the mother of all battles”. He understands the way Italy’s multigenerational families and geographical density made Italy’s infection rate so steep. Between broadcasts, Dr. Galli creeps back to his laboratory to help his colleagues with research.
In Greece, Prof. Sotirios Tsiodras, addresses the nation every day at 6pm
Professor Tsiodras’ delivery is flat, and he relies heavily on his notes as he provides the latest data on the confirmed sick, hospitalized or deceased. He offers practical advice—such as using a solution of four teaspoons of bleach per liter of water for disinfecting surfaces, including our hands. This church-going father of seven has been frank, proactive, alert to dispelling misinformation. Greece has fewer than 100 deaths since the start of the outbreak.
Dr. Christian Drosten has emerged as the voice of scientific reason in Germany
Long respected for the depth of his knowledge and willingness to share it with peers, Dr. Drosten has never sought the limelight. Colleagues have described him as an unlikely hero. Germany has had a relatively low death rate. As chief virologist at the Charité University Research Hospital in Berlin, Dr. Drosten is a sought-after guest on talk shows and the star of a daily podcast. He makes it clear that he “is a scientist, not a politician”.
Here in the U.S., Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is a highly respected immunologist
Dr. Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has had a brilliant career, advised six presidents and received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been instrumental in developing treatments that enable people with HIV to live long and active lives. Dr. Fauci has been outspoken on the need for social distancing and being cautious about not reopening our economy while COVID cases are still on the rise. His honesty and forthright delivery have made him a hero of the left while angering those on the right who see his efforts attempting to undermine Trump. He now has security guards.
In Spain, Dr. Fernando Simón has become an endearing scientific hero
The director of Spain’s health emergency center, Dr. Simon delivers COVID updates. He acts as a counselor for anxious citizens who have peppered him with questions online, including whether people should take off their shoes before entering their homes (not necessary). Dr. Simón tested positive for the virus in late March, prompting a nationwide outpouring of sympathy and well wishes.
Legitimate COVID information will be coming from Dr. Fauci, the CDC or the WHO
It’s important to remember that developing a vaccine for this disease is going to take much longer than we would like. Making sure that it’s safe will take time, manufacturing it will take more time. And remember that we’re all part of this big global community—everyone must be vaccinated.
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