Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Coronavirus PR Campaign

In the public interest.

Carbon Media was commissioned by the government.  My first response is a citizen is that I do not want PR involved in information dissemination, I want only experts so that I know I am getting independent information.  I am concerned about misinformation and manipulating information. So those involved are important to look at in the public interest.  I will look at Carbon Media in the next blog.


Australian government did not commission coronavirus campaign until a month after first case

Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt, prime minister Scott Morrison and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy

Labor says the Morrison government has been slow educating the public about coronavirus, as details of the public health campaign tender emerged. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

The Morrison government only engaged a creative agency for its national public health campaign about coronavirus on 3 March, more than a month after the first case of the disease was reported in Australia.

According to the contract notice on AusTender, the health department engaged Carbon Media to provide creative services for the Covid-19 campaign on 3 March.

A spokesman for the health minister Greg Hunt defended the timeline, telling Guardian Australia the department “had access to creative services from a range of sources, both internal and external, well before Carbon Media was engaged” but conceded the contract for the national campaign began on 3 March.

Labor has seized on the revelation to step up its criticism that the Morrison government was too slow to educate the public about preventing the spread of coronavirus through hygiene and social distancing measures.

On Sunday the prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced that Australia will require all international arrivals in Australia to self-isolate for 14 days and is now encouraging social distancing for others. The escalation comes on top of a recommendation that from Monday all non-essential mass gatherings of more than 500 people be cancelled.

The suite of new measures comes after criticism the government has failed to give clear messages about social distancing. The chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, advised as late as Sunday morning that handshakes between people who have not returned from overseas were still advisable.

The $407,700 Carbon Media contract is due to run until 30 June and was awarded by limited tender, subject to the exemption on open tenders for government advertising contracts.

Carbon Media has numerous other contracts with the health department including for seasonal influenza communications and childhood immunisation.

Labor’s shadow health minister, Chris Bowen, told Guardian Australia: “Time will tell whether this is in an effective advertising campaign, but Labor questions why it took the government over two months to commence an advertising campaign to provide the most basic public health information on Covid-19.

“They should be doing more, sooner.”

The coronavirus ads, which were rolled out on Saturday, direct Australians to visit health.gov.au to access up-to-date advice:


Another version of the ad urges people who have been overseas or had contact with people with coronavirus to call ahead before visiting the doctor and stay home if the illness is mild:


Australians are directed to cough or sneeze into their arm or a tissue, and to wash their hands regularly:


On Wednesday Hunt announced the $30m ad campaign as part of the $2.4bn health response to the coronavirus.

So far, the health department has paid $2.3m to Mediabrands Australia for the media buy for the campaign, and $56,375 to Snapcracker Research and Strategy for concept testing for the campaign. Those contracts run from 12 March and 4 March.

The department has paid $17,270 to Ansible Pty Ltd to develop a mobile application, although it is unclear if the contract relates to development of a new coronavirus app.

At a press conference on Sunday Bowen said Labor welcomed the fact the advertising campaign has started in earnest.

“I have made the point consistently that the public information has not always been clear and consistent,” he said.

Bowen said the campaign “needs to be a nationally coordinated, fully integrated campaign to allay misinformation on social media” and should also “make people’s obligations for self-isolation very clear”.

On Monday, Scott Morrison told ABC’s AM resources for the campaign were put in place “several weeks ago” and the government had taken coronavirus seriously since mid-January.

He cited travel bans and evacuations from Wuhan, without explaining why the health campaign was commissioned on 3 March.

The first case of coronavirus in Australia was confirmed on 25 January.

On 11 March Hunt defended the pace of rolling out ads by noting the government had already started using signage at airports to communicate about measures to combat coronavirus.

“In addition, we’ll be focusing on online, electronic media and messages to the home to make sure that people have as many avenues [to receive information] as possible,” he said.

Hunt’s spokesman said the government had run “a range of messages and advertising, particularly targeted at the Chinese community and international travellers as was the original need in the early phases of the outbreak”.

“The public has been provided with the latest developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak through nearly daily press conferences, media releases, updates on the department’s website and social media channels.”

“Multiple fact sheets and communiques have been posted on the website and distributed to key stakeholders and industries to address their specific requirements.”

San Francisco coronavirus spending $5 million to clean Homeless Shelters

In the public interest.


San Francisco is spending $5 million to deep-clean homeless shelters and SROs as the coronavirus outbreak threatens the city’s most vulnerable residents

Melia Robinson/Business Insider
  • San Francisco is spending $US5 million to protect members of its homeless population amid a coronavirus outbreak in the city.
  • The funding will be used to hire cleaning crews that will sanitize homeless shelters, supportive housing buildings, and SROs daily.
  • San Francisco now has 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease and is taking precautions to contain the disease, but those living on the streets are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The city of San Francisco is funelling $US5 million into protecting the 25,000 people living in the city’s homeless shelters and in single-room occupancy (SRO)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Monday that dozens of workers will be hired to be part of a cleaning crew that will regularly deep-clean the shelters, supportive housing buildings, and the SRO’s, which are funded by the city. The money will also be used to keep shelters, including Navigation Centres, open 24/7.

Meal offerings will also be made more available at shelters and SROs to encourage occupants to stay indoors. The funding will allow the city to keep up with the daily cleaning and the around-the-clock shelter hours for a few months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The city of San Francisco now has 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19. The mayor declared a state of emergency on February 25 that would make it easier for officials to access resources and funding needed to address a potential outbreak. Companies are advising employees to work from home, large events exceeding 50 people are banned at city-owned facilities until March 20, and some of the biggest annual tech conferences to be held in the city have been cancelled or turned into virtual events in an attempt to contain the disease.

But those living on the streets are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as the coronavirus, in San Francisco and in other US cities. A 2019 count placed the number of homeless individuals in the city at 8,011.Many don’t have the luxury of taking the recommended precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19, like handwashing and keeping a distance from sick people, as Business Insider’s Holly Secon reported.

Other major cities with coronavirus outbreaks with large homeless populations, like Seattle, are facing similar obstacles, as Secon reports.

Lack of Stategy to Protect Homeless from Coronavirus

In the public interest.


Concerns over lack of strategy to protect rough sleepers from coronavirus

Government urged to provide guidelines as homeless people likely to be more vulnerable

Rough sleeper
Advice is needed on how self-isolation protocols could work for people who live on the streets, charities say. Photograph: Oxford_shot/Alamy

Concerns have been raised that the government has no clear strategy in place to protect homeless people from catching coronavirus.

The homeless charity Crisis, together with the Liberal Democrats, are asking for immediate guidance on how to help rough sleepers who are likely to have pre-existing health conditions that make them vulnerable to the illness.

Advice is also needed on how the self-isolation protocol could work for people who live on the streets and how they can regularly wash their hands, they suggest.

Matthew Downie, director of policy and external affairs for Crisis, said: “People sleeping rough are particularly vulnerable because they are more likely to have a range of existing health conditions and face specific challenges in that they may be unable to regularly wash their hands, nor can they self-isolate if they feel unwell.

“This guidance must set out what measures government is taking to ensure rough sleepers get appropriate health checks, what accommodation will be provided so that people can self-isolate and advice for the public on how best they can support people who are homeless during the coronavirus outbreak.”

The Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has written jointly to the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, to seek clarity and urge the government to act.

Coronavirus could hit homeless camps hard

In the public interest.

Coronavirus could hit Bay Area homeless camps hard, experts warn

Coronavirus could hit Bay Area homeless camps hard, experts warn

Agencies, nonprofits are looking into preventative measures

As concerns about the coronavirus mount, Bay Area experts are worrying about what will happen if the infection strikes the region’s most vulnerable residents: the homeless.

Tent and RV encampments, where residents tend to be packed tightly together in unsanitary conditions, could provide an ideal breeding ground for the new COVID-19 virus sweeping the globe. Typical precautionary measures — such as avoiding close contact with others, self-isolating when you’re sick and washing hands frequently — are all but impossible in encampments with no solid walls or running water.

If they are infected, homeless people face a higher risk of getting very sick from the disease, experts say. They tend to be older, and their immune systems already may be compromised by other chronic illnesses, drug or alcohol use, and the harsh realities of street living.

It could become a major problem throughout California, which not only has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other state, but also holds the nation’s largest population of homeless residents. And thousands of those unhoused people are in the Bay Area.

“I think we’re all worried about it,” said Dr. Margot Kushel, director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The worry has become more pronounced in recent days. The public learned a Solano County resident appears to be the nation’s first coronavirus patient to contract the illness from an unknown source, amplifying concerns that the virus will start spreading within the state.

“Persons experiencing homelessness are not likely to have any particular risk for COVID-19 related to international travel or exposure to recent travelers,” a spokeswoman wrote in an emailed statement. “However, as the situation evolves, the California Department of Public Health and local health departments in California will engage with groups at risk of exposure and provide information on how people can best protect their health.”

As soon as the CDC on Tuesday warned Americans that it’s not a matter of if the coronavirus will spread within the U.S., but when, the Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos began working on a plan to protect its clients, staff and volunteers, said Executive Director Tom Myers. The agency provides aid to the homeless, low-income families and seniors, and Myers worries about the virus spreading through all three of those populations.

“Quite frankly, we feel like we need to be incredibly proactive on this and look at what is a worst-case scenario,” Myers said.

The staff at Bay Area Community Services, an Oakland-based nonprofit, is waiting for guidance from the public health sector, said Daniel Cooperman, director of housing strategy.

“It’s obviously impacting the whole world at this point,” he said, “so it’s something we’re closely monitoring and worried about.”

The Alameda County Public Health Department is “considering the unique needs of our unhoused populations,” spokeswoman Neetu Balram wrote in an emailed statement.

“From our experience with previous outbreaks, curbing the spread of disease is a community effort and we will need the partnership of our cities and nonprofits,” Balram wrote. “We will share updated guidance with our partners as it becomes available, and will work with them to safeguard all of our communities.”

In Santa Clara County, a health department spokeswoman said the agency is working with local service providers to make sure information about health recommendations and emergency notifications reach the homeless.

For some experts, coronavirus brings to mind the hepatitis A outbreak that tore through California encampments in 2016 and 2017. After igniting in San Diego County, the disease — which can spread through close personal contact or via food and drinks contaminated with small amounts of infected stool — traveled up and down the coast, sickening more than 700 people and killing 21, according to the CDC. Bay Area Community Services quickly mobilized with county health care officials to vaccinate as many East Bay homeless residents as possible. And it worked — the outbreak largely missed the region, Cooperman said.

But there’s one big difference between coronavirus and hepatitis A: There’s no vaccine for coronavirus.

If the virus continues to spread, Kushel predicts agencies will distribute hand sanitizer and install more hand-washing stations in encampments. Hospitals also could lower their admission thresholds, she said, accepting people who have no home to rest, recuperate and self-quarantine in, even if they have minimal symptoms.

“Honestly, I think it’s going to be very challenging,” Kushel said.

Kushel also worries the coronavirus outbreak will be dangerous in other ways for the homeless even if they don’t get sick.

“My fear,” she said, “is that this will be used as another way to further stigmatize an already stigmatized and challenged population.”

Federal judge cites coronavirus threat to homeless

In the public interest.


Federal judge orders emergency hearing over coronavirus threat to L.A.’s homeless people

Doug Smith

LA Times
L.A. County Sheriff Deputy Michael Tadrous talks with Shawn Troncozo, 24, about how to prevent becoming infected with the novel coronavirus during an outreach effort in El Monte last week. <span class="copyright">(Gina Ferazzi/Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)</span>

The federal judge who forced the opening of new homeless shelters in a landmark Orange County case has called for an emergency hearing in Los Angeles this week, citing the risk of people living on the streets during the coronavirus outbreak.

The hearing, set for Thursday, is on a case filed last week alleging that the city and county of L.A. have failed in their duty to protect public health and safety and to provide shelter to people living on the streets.

Citing the havoc that COVID-19, the disease caused by the rapidly spreading virus, could cause in homeless encampments, District Judge David O. Carter called for the emergency status conference.

Carter requested that a host of city and county officials attend, including Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority interim executive director Heidi Marston.


The Los Angeles case was filed on behalf of a group named the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights which, according to its website, was formed last summer by downtown residents and property owners to press for solutions to what they say are unsafe and inhumane conditions in spreading homeless encampments.

Led by longtime Central City East Association general counsel Don Steier, the group recruited members from around L.A. including nonprofits and service providers according to its website, and raised funds for legal fees and research into the issue. The group says it supports a legally enforceable right to shelter and provision of services for every person on the streets.

Concluding that ideological battles and legal challenges have been responsible for preventing progress, the L.A. Alliance sued on March 10.

That was just as cases of the novel coronavirus were beginning to spread in California. As of Tuesday, there were nearly 150 cases confirmed in L.A. County and many more in the Bay Area.