Why Is Contact Tracing Failing in America?

“Contact tracing” is better-known in the US than ever. But the process itself is going very badly compared to America’s peers, The Atlantic reports.  

Why isn't it working out?

For one, the US has no national contact tracing program. Plus, contact tracing efforts started too late and now they can’t keep up with the sheer number of cases—one contact tracer described herself as a “public-health Sisyphus.”

People's reluctance is also hindering efforts. Health departments in US coronavirus hotspots have reached only a fraction of patients who tested positive, according to a Reuters investigation. Compare that to New Zealand, where 86% of people contacted respond within 48 hours.

There’s also no national testing strategy, and results take too long. For people who can’t get paid sick leave without a positive result, that may mean going to work sick.  

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