Edgy Public Awareness Campaign Aims to Curb Labor Day Gatherings

SACRAMENTO – As Labor Day approaches, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reminding Californians about a recently launched bilingual public awareness campaign on the dangers of spreading COVID-19 in social gatherings. The campaign introduces sinister characters, “El Covid” and “The Rona,” who sneak into parties and family gatherings where they spread COVID-19. Governor Newsom announced the campaign at his noon briefing last Friday as part of the state’s “Your Actions Save Lives” public education and awareness campaign.

“We are all tempted to get together with family and friends for cookouts and Labor Day celebrations, but caving into that temptation could turn deadly, especially for our parents, grandparents and friends who might be more susceptible to the virus,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. “El Covid and The Rona are the evil twins who could surprisingly wreck our lives – but only if we let them have the power. The safest thing to do this holiday weekend is to celebrate with people who live with you, but if you do gather, wear a mask, keep physical distance and keep gatherings small and brief to reduce your risk.”

“El Covid” and “The Rona” use edgy, dark humor to grab the attention of Latinos and African Americans between the ages of 20 and 50 – two groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The campaign includes English and Spanish TV, radio, social medial and digital platform ads. It will be followed by print ads later this month. The campaign focuses on areas with higher COVID-19 cases among Latinos and African Americans, including Southern California, the Central Valley, the Sacramento Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast and the Bay Area.

Latinos and African Americans are disproportionately represented among Californians who contract COVID-19 and die from the disease. They are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 due to the increased prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other underlying conditions. Social determinants of health, factors related to housing, economic stability and occupation, are likely contributing to these disproportionate rates. In the Latino population, the rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths among adults has escalated in the last two months. Latinos make up about 40 percent of the California population, but nearly 60 percent of all COVID-19 cases and 48 percent of deaths.

“Families want to be together on the weekends and share their homes and food – but getting close is exactly how El Covid spreads,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, an infectious disease epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health. “This is a stark reminder that saving a life could be as easy as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and washing your hands.”

The new campaign is made possible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds totaling $5 million. The concept was designed by Gallegos United, a Latino advertising agency in Huntington Beach, which partnered with Burrell Communications for outreach to the African American community.

Learn more about the campaign at DefeatTheRona.org.

The link to the three TV ads: the Rona, El Covid English and El Covid Spanish.

  1. Cumpleaños: https://youtu.be/gZHR6twXAwY
  2. Birthday: https://youtu.be/Xs94jhY-rBI
  3. Houseparty: https://youtu.be/Acz03egC7u8

Radio ads

  1. Let’s Get Close: https://youtu.be/eBGAaQsXLmY
  2. Amor Contagioso: https://youtu.be/v0PZNJgw-QI
  3. Infectious Joy: https://youtu.be/SpmVraaPjDc