The success of Manitoba’s adoption of a COVID-19 exposure alert app may hinge on how the province gets the word out, and whether local restaurants and bars get on board with a “no app, no entry” rule, says an Ontario expert.
The Health Canada COVID Alert app officially launched during the summer in Ontario, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Manitoba will join the effort this week, and Health Minister Cameron Friesen urged the public to download the app now.
But epidemiologist Dr. Prabhat Jha said he hopes Manitoba draws lessons from those other regions, including what not to do.
“What not to do is simply release the app and say, ‘Hey, use it,'” said Jha, director for the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor of epidemiology in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto.
What’s needed, said Jha, is a professional social media campaign that targets younger people and makes a compelling case for the value of the app, its confidentiality and the privacy of data.
Another possible initiative is to institute some kind of “no app, no entry” rule at bars and restaurants in conjunction with business owners, said Jha.
“That would have the benefit of increasing the incentive for people to actually use the app.”
The app uses Bluetooth technology to detect app users who come into contact with each other. Users who test positive get a one-time code they can enter. When they do, any app user they’ve been within two metres of for at least 15 minutes in the two weeks prior is notified with an alert.
Though anyone can download the app, only people in provinces that have agreed to participate can report a diagnosis.
On Monday, Minister Friesen said the province would release more details about the app later this week, and encouraged Manitobans to download it in advance.
He said if the provincial government needs to switch up its messaging to reach younger populations, who appear to be driving a recent surge in Winnipeg, then it will.
A provincial spokesperson said Tuesday the government is finalizing plans but intends to promote the app in a number of ways.
However, implementing a “no app, no entry” recommendation would be a challenge, the spokesperson said.
“Any sort of restrictions on access to a site without the app would require significant review, including issues around accessibility of the app on certain phones, the privacy of individuals and access to technology (among others) before anything would be considered,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
‘Extremely happy’ app coming
Either way, the endorsement by the Manitoba government of the COVID-19 alert app is welcome news, said Jason Kindrachuk.
“I’m extremely happy that Manitoba has signed off on this,” said Kindrachuk, an associate professor and Canada research chair in emerging viruses at the University of Manitoba. “We need to use whatever technology we can to try and get past this virus.”
Friesen and Kindrachuk both said the app doesn’t collect personal information. Health Canada says the app doesn’t track users’ location, name, address, health information or personal contacts in their phone.
That also means it won’t necessarily make the job of contact tracers immediately easier, said Kindrachuk.
What it will do is highlight hot spots for transmission, which could help health officials focus in on outbreak areas sooner, he said.
One of the confounding factors of the novel coronavirus is the ability of those infected to transmit the disease while asymptomatic, said Kindrachuk. The transmission period can be in the range of five days, he said. That means people may not know they’ve been exposed and could transmit the virus for days before they’re notified.
“Being able to have an app like this, where you get notified extremely quickly if somebody has tested positive, that may decrease your ability to transmit the virus by days, and I think that’s quite critical,” Kindrachuk told CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa.
Use of the app is voluntary, but its effectiveness is dependent on how many Manitobans download it. Friesen said in order for it to help health officials, 60 per cent or more of a target population must use it, but some experts say it doesn’t need to be used by a majority to have a positive impact.
WATCH | Health minister encourages Manitobans to download federal COVID-19 app:
Two months after it was rolled out in Ontario, Jha said the app has had little social marketing help. On the plus side, there is some early evidence suggesting a greater proportion of people who reported a contact are now being tested, some of which is attributable to the app, he said.
“That’s good news, but the levels of uptake still remain low,” he said.
Kindrachuk agrees the impact of the app locally is tied to uptake. Large-scale benefits of the tool may not be immediately clear, he said, but it could help inform how apps like it are used in the future.
“In the months and years after COVID, we’ll get a real sense of how well the app performed,” he said.
QYOU Media Board Chair Exercises 2 Million Warrants
/NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES./
TORONTO and LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29, 2020 /CNW/ – QYOU Media Inc. (TSXV: QYOU) (OTCQB: QYOUF) (“QYOU Media” or the “Company”) announces that G. Scott Paterson, Board Chair of QYOU Media, exercised 2 million warrants at 6 cents per share bringing his total direct and indirect holdings of shares and warrants of the Company to 22,891,694 common shares and 4,250,000 warrants.
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QYOU Media operates in India and the United States producing and distributing content created by social media stars and digital content creators. In India, we curate, produce and distribute premium content including television networks and VOD for cable and satellite television, OTT and mobile platforms. In the United States, we manage influencer marketing campaigns for major film studios and brands. Founded and created by industry veterans from Lionsgate, MTV, Disney and Sony, QYOU Media’s millennial and Gen Z-focused content reaches more than 650 million consumers around the world. Experience our work at www.qyoumedia.com and www.theqindia.com
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Source:- Canada NewsWire
Media Beat: October 29, 2020
Two Facebook users are seeking damages on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose personal data may have been improperly used for political purposes.
The proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Calgary residents Saul Benary and Karma Holoboff asks the Federal Court to order the social-media giant to bolster its security practices to better protect sensitive information and comply with federal privacy law. – Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
A congressional hearing Wednesday left Facebook, Google and Twitter facing conflicting pressures — from Democrats who say they should patrol their sites and services more aggressively and Republicans who felt the companies should have a more hands-off role with most political speech. The mixed signals threatened to add new complications to the tech giants’ already controversial work to protect the world’s most popular digital communications channels from abuse. And it evoked the lingering, widespread unease in Washington with the political and economic leverage the three companies have amassed and the ways they seek to wield it. – Tony Romm, Rachel Lerman, Cat Zakrzewski, Heather Kelly & Elizabeth Dwoskin, The Washington Post
Platforms like Facebook and Google are sharing their plans to pause political ads around Election Day. That’s won’t stop all paid campaigning. – Arielle Pardes, Wired
Spotify’s content policy is in the spotlight amid controversy over Joe Rogan’s hosting of Alex Jones on his podcast, even though Spotify has banned Jones’ own show from its platform. BuzzFeed reported that Spotify won’t tell podcast hosts whom they can have on their shows. – The Information
Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the leading online music entertainment platform in China, and Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent labels, have expanded the terms of their multi-year licensing and cooperation agreement.
Merlin members account for more than 15% of the global digital music market and has deals with over 30 digital partners. – Jem Aswad, Variety
Watch “We told Americans that Canadians all vote the same way
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Media election planners prepare for a night of mystery – Assiniboia Times
NEW YORK — This coming weekend, CNN’s Sam Feist will distribute to his staff copies of the testimony news executives gave to Congress when they tried to explain how television networks got 2000’s disputed election so spectacularly wrong.
It’s required reading — perhaps never more than this year. Media planners are preaching caution in the face of a surge in early voting, high anxiety levels overall and a president who raises the spectre of another disputed election.
“We need to prepare ourselves for a different kind of election night,” said Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, “and the word I keep using is ‘patience.’”
Nearly half of people polled recently by the Pew Research Center said they intend to follow election night returns closely. It’s easy to see this year eclipsing 2008’s record of 71.5 million people who watched for results, and many will have laptops, tablets or smartphones ready for a multi-screen experience.
CBS News built a new studio where pop stars once visited MTV’s “Total Request Live,” and Fox News hired the makers of the “Fortnite” video game to design whiz-bang graphics, an illustration of the money and planning that goes in to the quadrennial event.
Live television coverage will extend into the early morning of Nov. 4 and perhaps beyond. NBC News has mapped out a schedule to stay on the air for days if necessary, said Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president.
Besides the traditional broadcast and cable news networks, there will be live-stream options from the likes of The Washington Post and others, including websites filled with graphics and raw numbers.
“There is an odd combination of anticipation and uncertainty about this election night, more than any other election night I can remember,” said David Bohrman, a television veteran who this year is producing the CBS News coverage.
Election nights always have surprises, but the worry this year is being driven by the large number of people voting early or by mail, in part driven by the coronavirus. By many estimates, the early vote will eclipse the number of people going to polling places on Election Day for the first time.
That’s an extraordinary change: In 1972, only 5 per cent of votes were cast prior to Election Day, and by 2016 it was 42.5 per cent. That profoundly affects how the results are reported.
Some states begin counting early votes as they come in. Some wait until Election Day or even after polls close. Some key states count absentee ballots only if they are postmarked by Election Day. Elsewhere, ballots can arrive as late as Nov. 13, as is the case in Ohio.
Some states have enough experience that their counts usually go quickly and smoothly. Other counts are more problematic. Florida and North Carolina are two battleground states that have, historically, done well at counting and posting the results of mail ballots on election night.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are prohibited by state law from processing mail ballots until Election Day. It can be a cumbersome process, and since neither state has experience counting as many ballots as are expected this year, it may be days before their results are known.
With more Democrats than Republicans voting early, the pace of how votes are reported is also important. Some states will release early votes before the Election Day tallies. That can make the first numbers shown on the screen appear deceptive, said Steve Kornacki, elections guru at MSNBC.
The challenge is knowing all those idiosyncrasies and communicating them clearly, he said.
“When I say I want a few more days (to study), that’s why,” he said.
Instead of listing how many voting precincts are reporting, ABC News will tell viewers the percentage of expected votes that are in so far, said Marc Burstein, senior executive producer who’s been in charge of ABC election coverage since 2000.
“Our byword of the night is transparency,” Burstein said. “We will tell people what we know. We will tell people what we don’t know, and we will tell them why.”
News organizations will still declare winners in individual states much as they have done in the past, using a combination of poll results and actual vote totals. Again, the expectation is these calls may be slower than in past years.
Producers say viewers should look to Florida as an early bellwether, because of its importance, efficiency in counting and early poll closing time. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog said last week that if Democrat Joe Biden wins Florida, his chances of winning the presidency shoot up to 99 per cent. If President Donald Trump wins the state, his reelection chances jump to 39 per cent, what Silver calls essentially a tossup.
North Carolina and Ohio are other states where relatively early results could give an indication of how the night is going.
“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected,” said Alan Komissaroff, Fox News senior vice-president of news and politics.
More reporting from outside of studios will likely be on display, with news organizations placing greater emphasis on voter integrity issues and the possibility of legal challenges. PBS is tapping a dozen public broadcasting reporters from across the country to contribute to its coverage. The Washington Post is stationing reporters in 36 states.
Networks are hiring election law experts in case those issues need to be addressed.
Because of the coronavirus, CBS’ Bohrman said people who will be on the network’s new set are being tested every day.
ABC News’ Manhattan set isn’t big enough for everyone to be 6 feet apart, so the network will operate out of three different studios on election night, including the set of “The View,” Burstein said.
At some point, after months of pontificating and speculating, the conclusion of the 2020 election will be known. Four years ago, The Associated Press declared Trump the next president at 2:29 a.m. the day after the election.
“We’re going in prepared but without preconceptions,” Oppenheim said.
AP’s Election Decision Editor Stephen Ohlemacher in Washington contributed to this report.
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