As anxiety grips Montreal, residents are turning to one person: Dr. Horacio Arruda. Unknown just a few months ago, the Quebec Director of Public Health has become a reliable face during this time of crisis. He's a daily fixture in COVID-19 updates from the government, offering important information and helpful advice with a hint of wit and a reassuring twinkle in his eye.

As Quebec consolidates its novel coronavirus advisories and health recommendations, the doctor has become the image of the government's response.

His smile and knowledge have also earned him an enthusiastic fan base.

Even Premier François Legault calls him "our best influencer."

But it was his video encouraging hand-washing that perhaps catapulted him to internet stardom.

In it, the Doctor of the People uses gesticulations and playful demonstrations to underline his points about the counterintuitively harmful effects of masks when worn by the general population.

Now somewhat of an internet celebrity, Dr. Arruda — and the meme culture that follows him — has his audience waiting eagerly for the latest updates.

During the Second World War, the English had the famous expression, "Keep Calm and Carry On." Well, in Quebec, we could have our own "Reste calme pis écoute Horacio."

If Quebec had its own version of Time magazine, Arruda would be a good candidate for Person of the Year.

Now, every time you see Dr. Arruda, you'll hear this:

Meme pages have also paid tribute to the doctor.

That smile is like a guiding light.

He's the hero we need.

Dr. Horacio Arruda advises that you wash your hands frequently and cough into your elbow to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

More health guidelines can be found here.

More information on hygiene practices during the pandemic is available on the government of Canada's website here.


This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.

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