Contact Tracing Survey: U.S. Workforce Surpasses 50,000 But Falls Short of Need

October 15, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified October 16, 2020

According to this article from NPR, the United States has more than 50,000 contact tracers for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Although 50,000 is four times the number of contact tracers states reported to NPR in its initial survey in late April, it falls far short of the more than 100,000 that public health experts have been calling for since the pandemic began seven months ago.

“I see us inching up in terms of increasing the contact tracing personnel, [though] still only really halfway to where we need to be,” says Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a co-author of a handbook of COVID-19 policy.

Here are six takeaways from this latest survey:

  1. Most states’ contact tracing workforce falls short of need
  2. Amid case surges, contact tracing can’t solve everything
  3. States adapt to surging cases and plan to hire more staff
  4. More states are sharing contact tracing data with the public
  5. Many states have launched apps but are concerned about public acceptance
  6. Still no significant federal resources
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