What Is Contact Tracing?
If I was with someone with a coronavirus (COVID-19), will I be contacted by the government? Can you tell me how this should work?
Contact tracking is a time-tested method of discovering how common an outbreak is. It has been used several times in the U.S. to track people with diseases such as measles and HIV so they can be isolated to stop the spread of the disease. While the US is looking to reopen after the last lockout, contact tracking will be required to slow down the COVID-19 outbreak. The reason is this: It is estimated that each infected person can, on average, infect two to three people. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, this means “the first positive case can turn into more than 59,000 cases in 10 turns of infection.”
Contract tracking for COVID-19
requires identifying infected individuals as well as people they’ve been in contact with since they’ve been infected. This applies to people who are six meters from the infected individual for at least 15 minutes, starting from 48 hours until the symptoms of the disease are diagnosed. Once identified, exposed people will be told to check their temperature twice a day and be warned for symptoms of COVID-19, such as shortness of breath or cough. If these develop, they will need to isolate themselves and inform the contact tracker following them. And of course, as they develop symptoms, they are asked who their contact is.
Considering how many people have been infected in the USA, it will be a major initiative across the country. 100,000 people will be needed to do the job – about $ 3.6 billion.
In this article, it is estimated that there are only 2,200 contact followers in this country. Reportedly, some states are hoping to get thousands of medical students to help. Being a contact tracker requires access to social and medical support for patients and their contacts, with some medical education or experience.
Also on the agenda are mobile phone tracking apps designed to identify people exposed to COVID-19 as a way to support contact tracking. If you choose to apply, it will let you know if you have contacted someone known to be infected. Reportedly, nearly a third of respondents willing to do so. Apple and Google, who develop applications, ensure their use is voluntary and protects users’ privacy. While there are serious privacy concerns about phone monitoring systems, they can help speed up contact tracking and control the spread of infection.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Crystal Watson et al. “A National Plan to Enable Comprehensive Covid-19 Case Finding and Contract Monitoring in the USA”, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, April 2020.