Biden’s plan for an army of disease trackers faces long odds

Steep costs and a gridlocked Congress could thwart enlisting a national corporation of contact tracers

11/26/2020 3:14:00 PM

Steep costs and a gridlocked Congress could thwart enlisting a national corporation of contact tracers

Steep costs and a gridlocked Congress could thwart enlisting a national corporation of contact tracers.

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particularly because the U.S. went into the pandemic with apiecemeal contact tracing workforce that had been decimated after more than a decade of budget cuts. With tens of millions of people out of work from the pandemic, the plan could do double duty as a public health and jobs program.

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Scaling up now, even while infections are out of control, could also help officials better understand where and how outbreaks are happening — allowing them to surge resources and eventually vaccines to particular areas.“It’s like you have a bowl of spaghetti and you're trying to follow with your eyes one strand of it. It becomes an impossible task,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of Biden’s pandemic advisory board. She said she still backs some degree of contact tracing “less with the idea that it's for the specific people involved in that chain, but rather to better understand how transmission is occurring in the community more generally … so it does still inform policy.”

Public health leaders who have met with Biden’s team are also urging that the 100,000-strong corps be made permanent, so it can be deployed to work on other infectious diseases once the pandemic is over.“Biden has talked about ‘building back better’ and that needs to be true for public health as well,” said David Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “We want them to remember that we’re in this for the long haul.”

Biden’s more nationalized strategy would mark a shift from the Trump administration, which left contact tracing — along with most aspects of the pandemic response — to the states, and did little to educate the public about how it worked or encourage them to participate.

A contact tracer with New York City's Health + Hospitals battling the coronavirus pandemic disinfects his tablet after leaving a potential patient's home in August 2020. | John Minchillo/AP PhotoMisinformation and conspiracy theories flourished due to the information vacuum, and public cooperation with tracers fell

dangerously low. Biden’s team hopes to overcome some of that mistrust by hiring members of minority and underserved populations to do “culturally competent” outreach in their own communities. But Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, says it won’t work unless it’s paired with another of Biden’s pledges — to patch the country’s weak social safety net with more economic aid for low-income workers who lack sick leave.

“If you’re asking people to quarantine, they’re going to be really reluctant to do that if they’re living paycheck to paycheck,” he said. “Without more policies and support for people in that situation, it doesn’t matter how many contact tracers you hire.”

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Now, as cases surge and hospitalizations hitting daily records for more than two weeks, the already strained workforce has been completely overwhelmed, and forced in many cases to pare back their efforts. Read more: POLITICO »

Excuses already ...and some of y’all fools actually mad at this 🤦🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️ This is stupid! The lockdown did way more damage than this so-called virus. Millions of Americans either lost their home or are facing eviction ...and small business For a majority of them it’s a wrap This is a wasted position the efficiency of contact tracers is about 10%

Here come the bs excuses... Use your power and 'Declare-War' on Covid-19 like you all did on the War on Drugs...'Just Say-Duh' excuses excuses excuses. At the current rate of spread, contact tracing is practically impossible. I see the media is already making excuses for Sleepy Joe not keeping his promises. He should have known when he made those outrageous promises that there was no way that they were going to happen.

Executive orders can nullify the bs also the President is in charge of agencies. Biden and his team are full of crap Please voters in GA, elect Warnock and Ossof. Please, please, please!!! Breaking promises already? Excuses already? They want to keep culling the people until the vaccine is approved. He knew this would happen. He just wants to make it look like he cares when he obviously doesn’t. Caring about contact tracing but not supporting M4A doesn’t go together. He is a fraud.

He’s gonna end up being a lame duck President 🙄 smh Typical Politico...always heading for the dark side of the force. Ukraine moving forward with criminal charges against HunterBiden and JoeBiden2020. See full press conference before it is censored. MUST SEE VIDEO: CNNnewsroom foxandfriends ReutersUS

it's not a gridlocked Congress,it's a GOP sabotaged Senate courtesy of Mitch McConnell... it's not both sides... it's one side and it's the GOP Congress might not be deadlocked on January 05. Why must you always take this position? Sick of it. national corporations should do it for free if they too want to survive.

Rule by executive order baby!! Thanks Republicans! The vaccine will end the crisis. Shame on any Republican that blocks it. They would not deserve their office if not prepared to do what it takes to protect the US public. GOP the party of death This man is crazy with Power, as are the Democrats! Rally at every swing state state house and demand their legislatures turn this fraudulent election over! PLEASE!

Better headline: McConnell May Choose Politics Over Help for American People. I'm tired of all the pot stirring. Nonsense, beaucracy isnt going to solve the issue at this point...vaccine is the solution and if people dont take it, its on them... Maybe you should start reporting on how Mitch McConnell and the GOP hate America and like people to suffer! They alone are the reason nothing gets passed that helps the average American!

If I recall FedSoc thinking correctly, he can do whatever he damn well chooses to do. BidenCheated I mean so is a national paid lockdown and closure of the schools. Both of which Biden has already signaled he will not do. Trump and Biden aren't all that different, they have the same paymasters. Oh JO JO. . .WHEN you meet il papa. . .will you tell him about the PALMIST. . .

Sorry, you mean Biden's, plan to hire 100,000 civil servants to do nothing? Other countries have proved tracking a disease this infectious accomplishes nothing, because people are infected before the useless trackers find them. It is a typical Democratic useless non-solution. republicans are traitors to their oaths to COTUS. Simple as that. Uphold protect and defend? They’re not doing it.

More like raging testing. Test everyone for, say, herpes, some form of which infects 60% of the population. Then (accurately) tell them that 2 of 8 forms of herpes cause cancer. Instant coffee and crisis. ‘President elect’ Once there is a will there is a way this virus must be controlled, for the economy to pick up....

And WHO the HELL is going to PAY for those 100,000 Beauricratic 6 figure JOBS. . . Too bad we’re not in the middle of en emergency where he could declare a crisis or something. That is why we have to flip the senate in Georgia, to get MoscowMitch the hell out of America's way! That pos has obstructed this country far too long for his own selfish and cruel gain!

BTW . BidenCheated2020 Sound like profgalloway Covid Corps FactCheck: Biden will need no plans... What we learned from the Obama and Trump years will make the next four years different. If ever there was any, there's not an ounce of public interest, decency or compassion left in McConnell. Expect nothing. Get a DNC that adapts what Stacey Abrams has done in GA to all 50.

We need technology, human contact tracers is like using the quill to compose a tweet. What an evil agenda from this cheater