Tags: Coronavirus | unemployment | coronavirus | contacttracer

Massachusetts to Deploy Contact Tracers to Combat COVID-19 Spread

charlie baker
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker visits a coronavirus testing site. (Steven Senne/AP Photo)

By    |   Monday, 06 April 2020 09:19 AM

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus and put people to work, the state of Massachusetts is sending nearly 1,000 people across the state to interview patients with COVID-19.

The small-scale test is a first-of-its-kind program with a goal of growing large enough to destroy the coronavirus even before a vaccine becomes available.

Called contact tracers, the newly created role will involve the tracers interviewing people who have the coronavirus to find out who around them may have been exposed. Those who may have been exposed will be warned to watch for symptoms themselves. This will give public health officials a look into how the virus is spreading.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the state would join with Boston-based global health nonprofit Partners in Health to turn staffers into contact tracers. 

"Massachusetts is the only state in the nation implementing this type of programming, and this collaborative tracing initiative will break new ground as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19," Baker said in a statement Friday.

Public health experts say a mass-scale national program is needed to help control the spread of the coronavirus. 

Other countries have deployed their own contact tracers to help suppress the spread of the virus. In Iceland, there are 50-person teams including law enforcement and social workers who have become tracers. In Wuhan, China, the government sent out 1,800 five-person teams to track down contacts that may be at risk. In Canada, the public service commission issues a recruitment campaign to onboard contact tracer volunteers. 

A government-backed national program would help the spread of the virus and put people back to work. It would be similar to efforts used during the Great Depression like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

According to The Hill, the WPA and the CCC employed nearly one in 10 Americans, giving people a paycheck in the years between Franklin Roosevelt's election and the outset of World War II. In its first year, the WPA accounted for more than 6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, which is the equivalent of about $1.3 trillion today. 

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In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus and put people to work, the state of Massachusetts is sending nearly 1,000 people across the state to interview patients with COVID-19. The small-scale test is a first-of-its-kind program with a goal of...
unemployment, coronavirus, contacttracer
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2020-19-06
Monday, 06 April 2020 09:19 AM
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