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Positive Actions to Fight COVID-19

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  • Positive Actions to Fight COVID-19

    This might be a good idea...
    A first-of-its-kind program that will deploy almost a thousand people across Massachusetts may be a small-scale test of what public health experts hope could eventually stamp out the coronavirus even before a vaccine becomes widely available.

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said Friday that his state would join with Partners In Health, a Boston-based global health nonprofit, to turn staffers into contact tracers, the backbone of any robust public health effort to squelch a deadly disease.

    Those contact tracers will interview people who have come down with the coronavirus to determine who around them might also have been exposed. Those who may have been exposed will be warned to watch for symptoms themselves, giving public health officials a window into how the coronavirus is spreading and who might next be at risk.

    "Massachusetts is the only state in the nation implementing this type of programming, and this collaborative tracing initiative will break new ground as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19," Baker said in a statement Friday.

    Public health experts across the country hope Massachusetts will not be alone for long. Increasingly, those who have warned for months about the virus's potential spread now say a mass-scale national program aimed at suppressing the virus at a community level through that sort of robust contact tracing is crucial to stopping its spread.

    Such a program aimed at bolstering national public health would be unprecedented in the history of the country. But as the economy nosedives into what could be a depression and millions lose their jobs in the space of a few days and weeks, a government-backed effort to get those people back to work does have a precedent, in Depression-era programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

    In their brief histories, the WPA and the CCC employed nearly one in ten Americans, giving people a paycheck in the years between Franklin Roosevelt's election and the outset of World War II. In its first year, the WPA accounted for more than 6 percent of the nation's gross domestic product -- the equivalent of about $1.3 trillion in today's dollars.

    That, public health experts said, would be money well spent to both get a handle on a virus that has infected more than 332,000 people and killed almost 9,500 as of Sunday afternoon.
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

  • #2
    I think Governor Baker and his team have done a very good job here In Massachusetts. I think they have had a philosophy of they want to improve their testing over time/day-to-day, in the sense of they want to increase the percentage of positive tests. This is based on the principle of that their are significantly more infected people out there than show up in the numbers, so if they can identify a higher percentage of those, track them and contact people exposed (which is what is being talked about here), and quarantine and treat people, the rates on the tail can be reduced. And presumably the restrictions can be loosened (and re-tightened if needed) over time.

    And good for Governor Baker, and the Kraft family who own the New England Patriots, for arranging for the flying a planeload of masks here for New England and New York State back to Boston. (On the Patriots plane).


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