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How Is Contact Tracing Helping to Protect Public Health?

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Top 5 public health blogs of 2012

Over the past year, public health across the world has experienced the biggest risk since the Spanish flu over a century ago. The outbreak of COVID-19 at the start of 2020 devastated countries around the world, bringing economies to their knees, causing huge numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and infecting millions.

This huge risk to public health continues even now, as the second wave of the virus sweeps the planet. However, this time around, countries are far more prepared than they were during the initial wave last year. There are now various tools and steps in place to try and reduce the risk of spreading the infection such as social distancing, the vaccination rollout, and increased awareness. In addition, we now have contact tracing to help protect public health by reducing the risk of spreading the infection.

What Contact Tracers Do

The job of contact tracers is a very important part of the fight against COVID and the protection of public health. Contact tracing calls are initially made to those who have been confirmed as having COVID, and the contact tracer will speak to the person about where they have been and who they have interacted with. The contact tracer is then able to try and contact exposed contacts to advise them that they have been exposed to the virus and they need to take steps accordingly.

By letting people know when they have been exposed, contact tracers can cut the risk of further spread of the infection. This is because those who have been exposed can then self-isolate and get themselves tested before they continue to interact with other people. This can make a huge difference in terms of the spread of COVID, and it can help people to protect themselves and other people.

One potential issue with this process is that when contact tracers try to get in touch with those who have confirmed COVID and those who have been exposed, the number is an unknown and unfamiliar one. As such, a lot of people fail to pick up the phone simply because they do not recognize the number. As our infographic shows, a huge number of Americans tend to ignore calls from unknown numbers, and this can really hamper the efforts of contact tracers.

One solution is to use something like a reverse phone tool, which can then identify the caller even from an unknown number. Those who do not answer their calls due to not recognizing the number can then find out who was calling and whether the call was from someone who is part of the contact tracing program.

An Invaluable Service

There is no doubt that contact tracers provide an invaluable service in the current situation where COVID continues to spread with such ease. As other steps such as vaccination programs continue, there may come a time when contact tracing is no longer required. However, for now, this is a program that makes a big positive difference to the global pandemic.