No Charmaine, no danger. That’s the way I’ll be looking at the situation from now on

The Skinny | No. 38 • The End of Profs Gauci’s Televised Health Updates

What are we skinning? The end of Superintendent for Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci’s televised updates on the Maltese health service’s progress with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why are we skinning it? Prof. Gauci has literally become a ‘household’ name over the past few months, lending a crisp, professional and reassuring voice to the already commendable efforts by our health services in dealing with this pandemic. 

I agree, which is why I’m sad and angry that she’ll be gone. Can’t we just keep her until the would-be vaccine is injected into all of our respective bums? Yes, but it’s not like she’s retiring from her post… 

True. That WOULD be a tragedy. But still, public perception is half the battle when it comes to this virus, and Profs Gauci offers us a calm oasis in the midst of the chaos. Can’t disagree with you there, but you may be tempted to look at it in another way. 

In what way?! Spell it out for me, please! Without Profs Gauci’s guiding voice, I am more adrift than ever… Calm down. What I was going to say is this: the scaling back of Prof. Charmaine Gauci’s televised appearances also means that the virus really is under control. At least within our shores, and at least for the time being. 

So you’re saying that the next time I see Prof. Gauci on TV, I should be scared. Pretty much. Or maybe not scared, exactly. But certainly concerned. You should pay attention to what she has to say, in other words. Which I’m sure you’ve been doing anyway. 

Of course. And at least the person delivering the bad (or even extremely good!) news will be someone who you know will do their utmost to keep your nerves on as calm a frequency as possible. 

Okay. This makes me feel marginally better. What’s next? Well, what’s next depends on us, as Profs Gauci has insisted on telling us over and over again. Will we continue to heed to social distancing and hygiene discipline despite relaxation of measures? Will we be ready to hear more ‘inconvenient truths’ from the authorities (as voiced by Prof. Gauci or otherwise)? But there are broader considerations to bear in mind, too… 

Ehh, I should have known the psychobabble would start soon enough… No, but come on. Isn’t it fascinating that Prof. Gauci’s updates saw a sudden upsurge of respect for an able-bodied and articulate public official who is professionally bound to keep us safe? 

I guess so. It could signal a new era of Maltese politics, where we actually choose sober facts and rational decisions over populist bluster. 

Dream on. Yes, let me dream away the final days of this soft lockdown, please. 

Do say: “Let’s take a moment to appreciate how the daily health updates were delivered by someone as sober and authoritative as Prof. Charmaine Gauci. Here’s hoping her example – and her subsequent popularity – will be taken up by politicians and other high-ranking officials in the near future.  

Don’t say: “No Charmaine, no danger. That’s the way I’ll be looking at the situation from now on, and there’s nothing you can do or say that’ll change my mind!”

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