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One scientist is campaigning to create a cartoon mascot promoting healthy COVID practices ― in the vein of Smokey Bear ― but so far has had limited success convincing government groups and celebrities to get on board.

What to know:

  • Could a lab coat–wearing cartoon raccoon named Kalo help convey public health messages during the pandemic to children and their parents? Named for the Greek word for “virtuous,” Kalo promotes hand washing, mask wearing, and getting vaccinated, using the slogan, “Science is our superpower!”

  • Kalo was created by behavioral neuroscientist Kelly Lambert, PhD, who landed on a raccoon as the ideal mascot because of raccoons’ natural “masks” and their practice of rubbing their hands together in a way that looks like handwashing.

  • Lambert was inspired by the Smokey Bear public service campaign, which helped to lower the average annual number of wildfires from 167,277 to about 65, pictures of amitriptyline 000 by creating public awareness of safe practices.

  • Research shows that children respond strongly to marketing, particularly with cartoon animals. Lambert hopes that Kalo could help educate children about vaccines and viruses and that the information could then reach vaccine-hesitant parents.

  • Although her efforts to gain support from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, as well as from famous people, such as Michelle Obama and Dolly Parton, have met with little success so far, Lambert is hopeful that Kalo will play a useful part modeling best practices in the years to come.

This is a summary of the article, “Could Kalo Become the Smokey Bear–Type Mascot for Pandemic Hygiene?,” published by The Washington Post on November 13. The full article can be found on washingtonpost.com.

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