COVID-19: Social distancing, contact tracing are critical

Gregory A. Poland, M.D.: The nature of social distancing and of isolating ourselves, and sheltering in place, has been tremendous from an economic and emotional, and a variety of other points of view. And yet to not do that is fundamentally a trade in lives.

So the CDC announced, Dr. Birx, that likely, we're going to have to do this social distancing through the summer. And then what does that get us to but fall time? And many of us think that the difficulty this coming fall is that we'll have return of COVID-19 from the Southern Hemisphere, on top of our annual influenza epidemic. And that's going to be a very difficult thing to try to thread the needle on.

Contact tracing basically means this. If I were to develop COVID-19, the idea would be that through the public health infrastructure, they would say, "OK, in the last 14 days, who have you been in contact with?" So you can imagine how difficult that is, and how much labor it takes to do that. And then they would go and they would notify those individuals, that they have potentially been exposed through me. And they would also try to trace who was I exposed from, and then be able to try to control the disease or the outbreak of the disease by asking those people to self-quarantine.

So it's actually effective. It's been demonstrated over and over and over again, if people will do it properly.

Aug. 24, 2020