States Building Up Contact Tracing Armies, But Experts Say It’s Going To Take More Money, More People
Contact tracing is exhausting, time-consuming work. And even states putting money into the process are not doing it at levels that match what's needed to keep the outbreak under control, experts say. Meanwhile, some scientists get on board with the push to test cities' sewage.
Contact Tracing May Help Avoid Another Lockdown. Can It Work In The U.S.?
To contain the spread of Covid-19, Alaska is planning to triple its number of contact tracers. Utah has retrained 150 state employees. And New York and other states are hiring thousands of people. And that, health experts say, might not be enough. (Joseph, 5/29)
Alabama Balances Privacy Against Accuracy In Contact Tracing App
A cell phone app to alert Alabama users if they’ve come in close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will not compromise users’ privacy, say the teams working on its development. The app is currently being developed by Birmingham-based tech company MotionMobs, in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It would notify users if they spent about 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of someone who later tested positive. (Pillion, 5/29)
Sewage Testing Gives Clues Of Coronavirus
Scientists looking for new ways to identify potential coronavirus outbreaks are turning their attention to what could be an early warning sign: the stuff you flush down the toilet. New studies increasingly show that the coronavirus's genetic code can be detected in the remnants of fecal matter that flows through sewers and into sewage facilities, either in raw wastewater or in what is euphemistically known as sludge. The genetic information represents such a good cross-section of a city or region that taking just a few samples can be the equivalent of testing millions of people in a given day. Using one method, just 14 samples could test the prevalence of the virus in all of New York City. (Wilson, 5/28)