Daniel Koch

Every crisis has its defining characters. Switzerland’s was Daniel Koch. Hardly anyone had heard of him before COVID-19. Koch came from the upper echelons of the Federal Office of Public Health, where he had been heading the Communicable Diseases Division for years. Yet during the epidemic he acted as the country’s point of reference almost on a daily basis. Tens of thousands followed the government press conferences on television and YouTube at which the bald-headed physician was constantly present. Whenever it was his turn to speak, Koch would explain the facts coolly and calmly. He would articulate complex epidemiological information in a straightforward way and respond patiently to questions from worked-up journalists with a spark of dry humour now and again. His careful, deliberate tone and unassuming manner won over the nation. Koch allayed our fears. He was someone to trust, even something of a cult figure. Through the media, we learned that he used to work as a doctor in war zones, and that he likes to go cross-country running with his two dogs (Switzerland has now heard of canicross). The public forgave Koch on the few occasions he got things wrong. The way he dismissed the effectiveness of face masks bordered on stubbornness, yet the freedom-loving Swiss lapped it up. At the end of May, with the country over the worst, ‘Mr Coronavirus’ disappeared into retirement – one month later than planned. His political boss, Health Minister Alain Berset, offered warm words on his farewell. Instead of trolling or taunting, people went on social media to thank the 65-year-old civil servant for his efforts. A book about Koch is already in the making, due to be published in late summer.

Susanne Wenger

Comments (1)
  • Darcy Inzaurralde, Mantevideo, Uruguay
    Darcy Inzaurralde, Mantevideo, Uruguay at 28.07.2020
    No veo que hayan realizado , una buena campaña sanitaria contra el coronavirus, ya que con 8,5 millones de habitantes, tuvieron 2000 muertes,ya que se comparan con Brasil, lo que no me parece justo, podrían compararse de la misma manera con Uruguay que teniendo , también una baja población como Uds.3,5 millones de habitantes y siendo limítofes con Brasil y con su estado Río Grande del Sur uno de los mas afectados, tenemos solamente 34 fallecidos al 29 de julio del 2020nosotros , tampoco tuvimos cuarentena obligatoria , y damos atención hospitalaria humanitaria a todos los buques infectados y los ciudadanos de otros países que nos lo piden, hasta el momento han sido:australianos, brasileros, argentinos, venezolanos, cubanos , 1 hindú y un filipino.Realizamos vuelos de repatriación de 1200 uruguayos a costo estatal, finalizando los mismos desde el 13 de marzo del 2020(cuando comenzó la pandemia en nuestro país)hasta mayo.Estamos dentro de los 14 países que mejor manejamos la pandemia, en forma libre, con gran conciencia social, sanitaria, económica y gubernamental.Los gobernantes y empleados públicos se rebajaron el sueldo un 20% por 2 meses, para crfear el FONDO CORONAVIRUS.Realizamos a la fecha 3000 test de diagnósticos diarios, de fabricación nacional y poseemos un rastreador informático de los positivos para no deambular por las inmediaciones de su cuarentena.Tenemos una población envejecida y pusimos personal sanitario en todas las casa de Salud para ancianos.Hay que compararse con los mejores y no con los peores, sinó es sólo hacer política engañosa. Los saludo desde Uruguay.
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