Students start Spanish-language virus information campaign


Osvaldo Salas, 29, stands with his son outside their home in suburban Phoenix on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Salas, who isn’t proficient in English, says he’s disappointed state authorities haven’t posted any information on the coronavirus in Spanish and that he has to rely on friends, family and TV for the latest. Salas, a restaurant cook, is worried about supporting his four children if he can’t work anymore. (AP Photo/Astrid Galván)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An effort by University of Arizona students to provide coronavirus information to a Spanish-speaking community gained financial backing from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The campaign launched by four of the university’s College of Medicine-Tucson students also received city and county support, The Arizona Daily Star reported.

The campaign includes Spanish-language posters to underscore the importance of social distancing, hand-washing and wearing masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement by the university said.

The student team responsible for the outreach effort includes Cazandra Zaragoza, Ricardo Reyes, Arturo Martinez and Guadalupe Davila.

“We realized there really weren’t any posters and things in Spanish and, if there are, they have a lot of text and it’s not very visual,” Zaragoza said.

Images created by Reyes feature Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in a clinical mask, a prickly pear cactus warning others not to get too close, and saguaro cacti practicing 6 feet (1.83 meters) of social distancing.

Poster printing costs were initially supported by the college’s Commitment to Underserved People program and Tucson City Council members Richard Fimbres and Lane Santa Cruz.

CDC funding became available when the students connected with Mary Kinkade, a Pima County Health Department program manager and local director of the CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program.

The informational posters were displayed in areas where Latinos typically shop and are now featured in more than a dozen Tucson grocery stores.

The campaign has also expanded to San Francisco’s Mission District via social media.

The Spanish-language posters are important to “make sure we’re getting information out to our community in a way they can grasp and understand,” Santa Cruz said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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