Too focused on deaths and those already tested positive, rather than, the indirect infection of COVID-19 is why the virus continues to raze through our lives.
Obviously, we are referring to ‘contact tracing’ here.
Of course, we are to treat the infected; but if ‘everybody’ is just busy treating people, then the spread would simply continue.
This is like just trying to stop a deep gash from bleeding without first making sure the patient is properly positioned for treatment. Result? Severe blood loss or infection. And this is true whether it’s in a rich country or a developing one. Else, the more advanced countries would have already stopped the virus much, much earlier.
Well, not that COVID-19 has already been controlled by a vaccine, or that Remdesivir has effectively collared the virus that the most vulnerable need not worry anymore, it’s just that governments are now into ‘herd immunity’ whether they realize it or not. See. Most of those who are surviving, are surviving simply because they are younger or has a stronger immune system.
So, how do we cut the head of the snake?
Current tracing tactics
First. While apps like TraceTogether shows promise despite mobile compatibility issues, the thing here is, such apps should be mandatory for all citizens. Otherwise, you leave a hole.
Yet more than its technical problem, not everyone may have a smartphone to begin with. Thus, no matter how encouraging tracing apps may seem, the development of COVID-19 wearables would clearly supersede contact tracing apps as one does not even need a smartphone to get monitored. This should be especially helpful in rural areas where health systems are weak.
Second. Old school contact tracing where you just ask the infected where he has been to and with whom was he in contact with.
Problem with this approach though is that of accuracy. It’s a memory thing, you know. Like, were you really in that place, with those people at the time you say you were? What if these infected people are not even disclosing everything? More people could get infected.
Negatives on tracing tactics
And that’s just on the side of COVID-19 positive people. How about the contact tracing volunteers themselves? Like, are they well trained? What if they get infected as well? Do we have enough of them?
How about their funding? You know, they can not just do this hazardous job for free – and without proper support. You got to supply them with the necessities to perform their work without them losing motivation.
Suggested tracing tactics
First. Speaking of necessities, make sure you acquire accurate testing kits. This is probably the reason why those positive for coronavirus may not disclose everything – they fear that their results could be ‘false positive’ and that their loved ones could have the same fate and so ‘unjustly’ quarantined. And that they now risk of real infection for being housed together with the truly positive patients.
Second. Given that your testing kits are accurate, contact tracing should be applied as a precursor to immediate ‘blanket testing’ – this is regardless if one got into contact with a COVID-19 positive patient or not – within the 5-mile radius from where the infected person resides.
Third. Apply Vietnam’s contact tracing tactics. Given that testing kits are accurate and that there was full disclosure from the infected person, have the names of those who were in contact with the patient (as well as those who were present at the time the patient visited the locality) printed on district newspapers and announced on local television and radio stations.
This should be with a directive for them to visit their health centers for testing.
Sure, this may come with some loss of privacy but if your people are made to understand the gravity of the situation, then such privacy would be a small price to pay to continue living and enjoying the life you know…
Instead of struggling in a ‘new normal’.