The Case for Bringing Back Contact Tracing

As summer COVID-19 surges usher masking and distancing back in across the US, contact tracing is being left in the toolbox.

Many states began dialing back tracing months ago; Texas’ new budget bans contact tracing funding altogether.
That’s a missed opportunity, says Tom Frieden, chief of Resolve to Save Lives, noting that contact tracing can help:

  • Reveal how fast variants spread and identify hot spots
  • Reduce transmission in schools; limit closings
  • Target at-risk populations for vaccination

Time for a rebrand: Frieden suggests a new name: “Covid support services”—emphasizing assistance infected or exposed, including:

  • Services to access housing, care, food and essentials
  • Compensation for missed work

That will take government support—but also community trust, something that’s largely been lacking in the US.

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