Contact tracingContact Tracing’s Long, Turbulent History Holds Lessons for COVID-19

Published 24 July 2020

To get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and keep it from flaring up again, contact tracing is critical, but persuading everyone who tests positive to share where they’ve been and with whom relies on trust and cooperation. Amy Lauren Fairchild, Lawrence O. Gostin, and Ronald Bayer write in The Conversation that contact tracing’s long, contested history shows how easily both can be shattered. Looking back at the reasons for resistance to contact tracing as the U.S. struggled to contain epidemics in the past can help us understand the first signs of pushback against contact tracing in the COVID-19 response, as well as the public health consequences.