Weekly News Roundup: July 31, 2020
Contact Tracing is one of the top transmission-control strategies to manage the spread of COVID-19. Because the virus appears to spread mainly through respiratory droplets from person-to-person contact, knowing where infected individuals have been and with whom they’ve been in contact is an essential capability. In this week’s news roundup: why contact tracing is badly underused in the U.S.; steps for effective patient and staff contact tracing; what’s next now that the pandemic is overwhelming public health capacity in many states; and more.
Contact Tracing, a Key Way to Slow COVID-19, Is Badly Underused by the U.S
There is no coronavirus vaccine. Medications for COVID-19 are still being tested. Across the U.S., states that once acted as if the pandemic was going away are setting new daily records for infections, hospitalizations and deaths. There is one proved tool that has helped other countries stem the pandemic. But in the U.S. it is severely underused; the Trump administration tried to cut financing for it from the latest pandemic relief bill, reports this week say. And it often meets resistance from the people it is intended to help.
Steps for Effective Patient and Staff Contact Tracing to Defend Against COVID-19 Spread
Contact tracing follows COVID-19-confirmed patients through the health system, informing surveillance teams where patients have been in the facility and with which staff members they’ve interacted. These vital insights support transmission management by informing testing, quarantine efforts, and decontamination activities. Now, with COVID-19 making the need for better patient tracing urgent, organizations must adopt capable patient-and-staff-tracing processes.
America’s Failures to Test, Trace, and Isolate, Explained
Three words explain why many developed countries have contained their coronavirus outbreaks more successfully than the United States: test, trace, and isolate. The most effective containment strategy involves testing enough people to identify new cases, tracing all of their potential contacts, and isolating the people who may have been exposed before they can spread the virus to anybody else. But today, six months into the pandemic, America is still struggling to stand up these basic features of an effective public health response.
Pandemic Is Overwhelming U.S. Public Health Capacity In Many States. What Now?
When the coronavirus pandemic began, public health experts had high hopes for the United States. After all, the U.S. literally invented the tactics that have been used for decades to quash outbreaks around the world: Quickly identify everyone who gets infected. Track down everyone exposed to the virus. Test everyone. Isolate the sick and quarantine the exposed to stop the virus from spreading.