If the US has 320 million people, and 160 million are infected, is contact tracing useful?
No. It would just be wasted effort. Would you agree?
If, in a 320 million population, only 3 people have it, is contact tracing useful? Of course it is. It is extremely useful.
It is the middle ground that is up for debate. How many “likely infected” does it take for contact tracing to be more time and trouble and economic expense than it is worth?
You tell me.
I expect that in some areas, with few cases, it will be a great idea. In other areas – say NYC – it will be mostly useless. Certainly NYC doesn’t seem to care about it at this point.
I can definitely see providing advice to people who test positive on what they should tell people in their household (since that’s how – mostly – people get infected) but beyond that, once the numbers get too large, I mean – what are you gonna do? With 5000 new cases a day, will you put out a bulletin that says “30 new positives were using the (A-C-E) subway line yesterday”? Every day you’ll be saying this. Useful? Not so much. Information overload. Why would you waste the man-hours to do this?
Take a look at the advice given by NYC Health department. They do not even recommend getting tested unless you are really super sick. (So much for “treat early”). Maybe this is why they have so many people dying.
If you are sick, assume you have COVID-19. You do not need to seek testing at this time. Not getting tested protects health care workers and saves essential medical supplies that are in short supply, such as testing materials, masks and gloves.
NYC does not seem to be doing contact tracing right now. That’s because – they have too many cases for it to be useful. My guess.
“Don’t bother getting tested. We don’t care about you unless you are really super sick.”