Thanks to commentor Debbie (Aussie). I like the idea of a national anthem that people could actually sing, y’know? (And one stanza is plenty, although I think much could be done with stanzas 3 & 4 of ‘America the Beautiful’… )
The world changes, and sensible people change with it…
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) April 16, 2020
Massachusetts hired a 1,000 people to do contact tracing. Is not building an app https://t.co/79fF55gmbz
— april glaser (@aprilaser) April 16, 2020
Good on Charlie Baker, despite his (R) credentials. For one thing, there’s many thousand people need a job right now, and surely we can find enough candidates to do this job right. For another, yeah, there’s a great many bored/anxious programmers at loose ends in the Boston area right now… and if you don’t think some of those programs would find a way to hack ‘an app’ within the first day it was released, you don’t have my faith in the ingenuity of Masshole (and LiveFreeOrDieTrying) tech geeks.
… “It’s not cheap,” Governor Baker, a Republican, said. “But the way I look at it, the single biggest challenge we’re going to have is giving people confidence and comfort that we know where the virus is.”
The state is currently experiencing a surge of cases that is expected to last for the next week, after which it may start to consider easing social-distancing rules. Robust contact tracing, combined with ramped-up testing, could smooth that process, the governor said.
“It’s hard to see how we create a sense of safety if we don’t have a program like this in place,” he said…
The Massachusetts program is staged by the nonprofit Partners in Health, whose doctors have led responses to infectious disease — Ebola, Zika, drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera and typhoid fever, among others — in the world’s poorest countries.
It is built around one-on-one telephone interviews of newly diagnosed patients and their contacts, so that subjects must answer the phone when it rings. Paul Farmer, a physician-anthropologist and one of the group’s founders, said there was no substitute for the bond of trust formed by a human contact tracer.
“Somebody needs to say to people who are worried and not feeling well, ‘We got you,’” he said. “‘If this is Covid-19, we got you. And we’ll look out for your contacts, your spouse and your children.’ And I think that’s another thing you can do remotely or virtually, is reassure people that there is no reason to believe everything is lost.”…
“I have people reaching out to me all day with theoretical things that we could do, God love ’em,” he said. He said he had also heard from “everyone who had a phone-pinging program,” and that digital tracing may be integrated into the state’s program later, but that human outreach was critical to reaching people without an easy way to isolate themselves.
“You’ve got to be able to connect to people in some way that’s meaningful that’s beyond a ping on the phone,” he said.
Already, Massachusetts’ local departments of health had been carrying out contact tracing, assisted by 1,700 volunteers from the state’s academic public health community…
Read the whole thing. People want to help — people want something to do besides sit & worry. This is good!