Ending contact-tracing is a mistake

Zena Mohamed

New York City’s COVID-19 contact-tracing program will cease imminently since there has been drastic improvement in keeping coronavirus infections under control.

As more people are getting vaccinated and new treatments are being distributed to prevent severe illness, local health departments will no longer notify a person when they have been exposed to the virus by late April.

The COVID-19 contact-tracing program should not come to an end because an individual should have the right to know when they have been in contact with an infected person.

“The city supports the CDC’s recommendations to scale down contact tracing going forward. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, we must adapt our public health interventions, while still providing resources to New Yorkers,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said in a statement.

As the pandemic wanes down, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to begin adjusting to the changes occurring within their surroundings. In essence, country and state investigators will no longer keep track of every case but will give out the supplies needed to fight against the COVID-19 variants.

Chokshi said that the health department will continue contact tracing in high-risk settings and offer resources to New Yorkers to help them “quickly identify if they have COVID-19 and to isolate safely if they are positive.”

The state will be active in making sure that places such as hospitals, correctional facilities and shelters will be rapidly notified if exposed to the virus.

Although it is ethical to maintain the safety of those in high-risk settings, it is a shame that those in the workforce will be disregarded in April.

People should be given a heads-up so they can protect their family members and those around them from being exposed as well.

The pandemic is far from over as it will always remain while everyone learns to adapt, manage and keep cases under control. With that being said, cases should be monitored at all times because ensuring the safety of everyone is indispensable.

People with pre-existing health conditions already feel like they are not being acknowledged. The state must consider how damaging this could be for those that need to immediately know if they have been put at risk of getting coronavirus.

“After the main tracing program ends in late April, people who test positive will get a text message about resources that can help them, including a new program for anti-viral pill delivery,” according to The New York Times.

This leaves people wondering whether it will be enough to prevent severe illness and hospitalization for the immunocompromised.

“Over 96 percent of adults in N.Y.C. have had at least one vaccine dose,” he wrote to the tracers. “We have very effective treatments, including a new oral medication that can be delivered the same day at home,” The New York Times reported.

New Yorkers have taken the steps to bring COVID-19 under control and keep themselves and those around them safe.

As a collective, society should not want to take a step back and exacerbate another spread that can be damaging to the lives of many. The contact-tracing programs must extend to at least the end of the year to safeguard the well-being of New Yorkers and preempt months of unrest.