by James Ketler
As states move through phases of reopening, “contact tracing” has remained a topic of national interest. For months now, talking heads in the government and media have hailed the strategy as the country’s saving grace. One NBC headline read, “Coronavirus contact tracing could stop COVID-19 and reopen America,” and a CNN article declared, “the US — or really any country — can’t safely reopen without significant amounts of contact tracing and testing.” With this starry-eyed perception, dozens of states have rushed to train and hire tens of thousands of contact tracers—what former CDC director Tom Frieden gleefully described as an “army” of tracers.
It’s true that contact tracing has been an indispensable asset many times in the past, helping to snuff out viruses by diligently tracking their spread. So it’s no mystery why some health experts are flocking to it in the current crisis.