Contact Tracing is Failing in Fight Against COVID-19: People ‘Can’t Remember or Don’t Want to Remember’

Infectious disease experts have stressed for nearly a year how important contact tracing is to slowing the COVID-19 pandemic, but infected people are failing, or refusing, to recall whom they came in contact with.

This failed effort is happening in the U.S. and European countries, but not so much in Asian nations, reports The Wall Street Journal:

Asian nations that have used contact tracing successfully to control the disease interview 10 or more contacts for each case. In the U.S., France, the U.K. and Spain, tracers are identifying fewer than four contacts for each case, according to government data...

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, points to government data in several countries showing most people are becoming infected at home. The home, while undoubtedly a driver of infections, probably tops the list, he said, because of how hard it is to trace infections that originate elsewhere...

Falko Liecke, city councilor for health and youth in Berlin’s popular Neukölln district, said his contact tracers often run into the problem that people who test positive “can’t remember or don’t want to remember” where they were exactly, and with whom, in the days before showing symptoms. A current time lag of up to a week in getting test results is making matters worse, he said.

(Sources: The Wall Street Journal,

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