States are quickly moving to reopen businesses in the U.S., with many restaurants, bars and other businesses operating at either full or partial capacity across the country. With COVID-19 still present and even rising in some states, contact tracers are an important part of understanding new outbreaks and stopping them before they grow. New data, however, shows most starts are woefully unprepared when it comes to the number of contact tracers currently available.
New data from NPR shows most states in the U.S. currently fail to meet the demand for contact tracers based on up-to-date COVID-19 case counts. These include Oklahoma, California and Florida – states that are reopening at the same time they’re seeing record highs in new daily cases of the virus. In total, only 11 out of 50 states could effectively meet the need for contact tracers today.
New York, which is leading the way in contact tracers with 3,000, is reportedly off to a slow start in successfully getting information on people who test positive. On Monday, New York City officially entered Phase 2 of their reopening plan, allowing restaurants, bars, barber shops and office jobs to open with several COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.
Experts have lauded contact tracing as perhaps the only way to successfully reopen the economy without causing new, larger outbreaks before a vaccine is created. Still, many Americans are still uncomfortable with the government and companies knowing whether they've tested positive for the virus.