Daunting Number Of Health Care Workers Needed To Launch Contact Tracing Program Crucial To Reopening
The National Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations estimates that the country may need to hire as many as 100,000 such "disease intervention specialists," at a cost of $3.6 billion. Other experts predict that number could be as high as 300,000.
Tracking The Virus May Require 300,000 Workers. We're Nowhere Close.
The country only has a fraction of workers needed to trace the coronavirus, as health departments are scraping together a rag tag army of graduate students, workers from a city attorney's office and even librarians. Before the pandemic, state and local health departments had fewer than 2,000 workers carrying out contact tracing — the detailed investigatory work to track and stop outbreaks of everything from syphilis to measles. The real number needed could be somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 — an astronomical figure that seems near impossible to reach without a massive national program to build a highly trained public health workforce. (Goldberg and Ollstein, 4/21)
CDC Will Boost States' Coronavirus Contact Tracing Efforts, Pence Says
During a private call with governors Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said that the Centers for Disease Control will be sending teams to all 50 states and territories on a 12-18 month rotation "dedicated exclusively to coronavirus surveillance." "We're going to deploy specific coronavirus teams on a 12-month, 18-month rotation to each and every state and that information should be reaching your state -- those personnel -- this week," Pence told governors, according to a recording of the call obtained by ABC News. (Faulders and Siegel, 4/20)
In other news on tracking the virus —
The Wall Street Journal:
Peter Thiel’s Palantir Saw Coronavirus Coming. Now It Braces For The Impact.
Peter Thiel’s data firm Palantir Technologies Inc. got an early jump on the coronavirus, recalling staff from abroad ahead of most companies. In recent weeks, it parlayed that knowledge into a growing role helping governments around the world track the pandemic. That may not be enough to spare the company from pain. Palantir’s business is being squeezed as corporate customers pare back spending, leading the Silicon Valley firm to draw up deep cost cuts and consider pushing back further its long-awaited initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. (Copeland and Schechner, 4/21)