As officials and experts around the world continue to insist that trace contact is the “answer” to prevent a resurgence in new cases when the economy is reopened, even as more studies show that the virus spreads most rapidly among members of the same for households and less often through asymptomatic “carriers” (although this certainly happens), New York discovers that the “contact tracker army” assembled by Mayor Bill de Blasio is much less useful than officials hoped, according to a report in The New York Times, published the day before the city enters its second phase of discovery.
In connection with the resumption of breakfast in the fresh air, in the store and in the office, the first batch of program data, which began on June 1, indicates that tracers, as a rule, cannot detect infected people or collect any useful information from recently infected subjects . Interestingly, the biggest “barrier” to getting this information is the patients themselves.: Only 35% of the 5,347 urban residents who gave a positive or supposedly positive result on COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the program reported close contact with tracers, the city said.
In any case, this error suggests that contact tracing in this way is simply not an effective tool to prevent the second wave of the virus, although there are many other tools in the states, including extensive testing and isolation of the sick and vulnerable. Instead, the New York Times suggests that failure is a “troubling” sign that “difficulties are re-emerging in preventing a surge in new cases where states are across the country.”
Although contact tracing has worked in the past during outbreaks of tuberculosis and measles, this technique appears to be much less useful when applied on a coronavirus scale, officials say. However, other countries reported greater success with these methods, including China, South Korea, and Germany, and other countries created extensive tracking networks that helped identify potentially infected people before they became seriously symptomatic.
For example, in South Korea, people at weddings, funerals, karaoke bars, nightclubs, and online games record their names and phone numbers, and authorities can use the location of mobile phones. Of course, all this depends on the desire of the subjects to give out their information.
But when US tech hippos instead decide to secretly install tracking apps without the user’s direct consent, well, let’s just say that it doesn’t really help to establish the trust and confidence that are critical to the work of these programs.
One of the program managers told The New York Times that although things don’t start ideally, there are signs that the New York program might help prevent another outbreak. For example, at least the majority of patients who are contacted will at least answer the phone.
Dr. Ted Long, the head of the new Test and Tracing Corps in New York, insisted that the program was going well, but admitted that many people with a positive test did not provide contact information by phone or left an interview before asked. Others told investigators that they were only at home and did not put others at risk, and then did not name the family members.
Dr. Long said one of the encouraging signs was that almost all the people for whom there were numbers in the city at least answered the phone. He added that he believes that investigators will be more successful when they start going to people’s homes next week or two, rather than just relying on phone communication.
The New York Times then did most of the work, focusing on specific minority contact tracking tools that were tasked with interviewing patients in more “economically disadvantaged” areas.
But another expert, quoted by the New York Times, noted that the decision of the mayor de Blasio to create a team of contact tracing outside the city department of public health would ensure that all contact tracing experts had no experience with this kind of work.
Dr. Hulkitis of Rutgers said that, in his opinion, the low level of cooperation is probably due to several factors, including the inexperience of tracers; Americans’ widespread reluctance to share personal information with the government; and the decision of the mayor de Blasio to transfer the program from the city health department.
“You took it from people who really know how to do it,” he said. “D.O.H. employees, they are qualified. They know that. ”