Natalie E. Dean, PhD+ Your Authors @nataliexdean Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at @UF specializing in emerging infectious diseases and vaccine study design. @HarvardBiostats PhD. Tweets my own. May. 19, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

We are all going to need to learn a lot more about contact tracing. How is it done? How can we make it more successful? This article by @CarolineYLChen provides a great overview. Highlighting a few key parts. 1/7 

When a person tests positive, the local health department is notified and a contact tracer reaches out to ask about symptoms, to identify who that person has been in close contact with, and to help draw up a plan for isolation, including delivery of groceries, medications. 2/7

A patient may have a fuzzy memory, so tracers act as detectives. “You might say, ‘I talked to Bob at the grocery store, but I don’t know his last name,’ then I will call the local grocery store and ask, ‘Do you have someone called Bob who works in the produce section?’” 3/7

This will require large teams of tracers to be hired across the US. In California, Governor Newsom has said the state will recruit up to 20,000 people to do contact tracing work, including librarians and city attorney staff not able to do their current jobs. 4/7

The key to successful contact tracing is trust. The story describes an example from Ebola, where Liberia had greatest success by pairing nurses with community members. "You’re less likely to give your information to a stranger. You have to have rapport and empathy." 5/7

Given the speed of the virus, contact tracers need to work fast. But tracing does not need to be perfect to have an important impact. See our group's preprint on the topic using network data from the Boston metropolitan area. 6/7 

From @EmilyGurley3: “This isn’t an all or nothing game — our goal isn’t to get rid of the virus, we missed that boat. Our goal is now to keep numbers low enough that the health care system can handle the cases and that we don’t have any large outbreaks even as we open up.” 7/7

You can follow @nataliexdean.


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