It May Be Too Late For Contact Tracing In States Experiencing Rapid Coronavirus Spread

( Contact tracing has often been discussed as one of the most important elements of curbing the spread of the coronavirus. This could be especially critical as states across the country are experiencing surges in their rates.

However, with the spread becoming so great in the South and Southwest parts of the country, one health expert believes contact tracing isn’t possible anymore.

As the dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez, said of the situation:

“The cases are rising so rapidly, that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore. I don’t see how it’s possible to even do that.”

The current situation is considered a surge of the first wave of the virus, not a second wave, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. That’s because, according to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the infection numbers throughout the country never lowered to a level that officials had hoped they would.

“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” he said on Monday.

More than 2.9 million people have been infected by the coronavirus as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 130,000 people have died from it.

As a result of this surge, almost half of the states are either rolling back or putting on hold their re-opening plans. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont on Monday announced the state wouldn’t be moving to Phase 3 of its plan just yet. As a result, restaurants will have to maintain only 50% capacity, and bars must remain closed.

As Lamont said:

“Let’s wait and see. I know how frustrating this can be, but right now, with this pandemic flaring up in a majority of other states, this is not the time to take a risk.”

According to Johns Hopkins University’s data, 31 states have seen an increase in new cases from the week before. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire are the only four states that have seen a drop in cases. The other 15 states have seen their rates remain steady.

The main difference between this surge and the initial one, according to a recent study, is what they are calling “silent spreaders.” These are people who are either presymptomatic or asymptomatic. According to the report that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, these people could be responsible for roughly half of the new confirmed coronavirus cases.

As the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said:

“We are in free fall. You see the footage of what happened this past weekend. And people are either naïve to the influence of their actions, or they’re simply resigned to ignore it.”

With people continuing to crowd public places such as beaches over Fourth of July weekend — especially younger people — states have stepped up to try to do more. In total, 35 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have implemented requirements for face coverings.