Fernando Simón: Spain’s prime scientist turns into unlikely hero of nation’s COVID-19 disaster

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With celebrities unable to achieve their traditional audiences, and politicians underneath elevated scrutiny, public well being consultants are stealing the limelight.

Beforehand unknown virologists and epidemiologists have turn into family names in a variety of international locations, the place residents anxiously await their evaluation and recommendation on the unfolding pandemic.

Dr Fernando Simón, Spain’s well being emergency chief, received over the nation together with his plain-talking, no-nonsense method. With a hoarse voice and wild hair, he has been the face of its bruising combat in opposition to COVID-19.

His easy and detailed updates on the evolution of the epidemic, mixed with empathy and endurance, have turned him right into a pop icon for a lot of Spaniards.

Social media is awash with montages of his face, and memes of his most memorable moments on digital camera – together with a coughing match throughout a press convention, which he mentioned was not because of the coronavirus, however as a result of he had eaten an almond.

There are even T-shirts and tote baggage to his picture.

Simón is nicely conscious of the eye and has a message for these utilizing his now-familiar face.

“I’m delighted that persons are profiting from my picture to arrange a enterprise that they’ll see as worthwhile… that’s high-quality by me. What I would love extra, if attainable, is that maybe they might donate a small share of these advantages to NGOs,” Simón mentioned on Friday.

Simón had a tough time when he was accused by conservative politicians and media of getting withheld details about the pandemic as a way to permit Worldwide Ladies’s Day demonstrations to happen on March 8.

However when he examined constructive for the coronavirus in late March, his case sparked a nationwide outpouring of sympathy.

Three months within the hearts of Spaniards have now additionally earned him a reputation abroad, with the New York Instances writing he had minimize “an endearing scientific hero determine.”

 

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