How testing and tracing put down a pandemic

An artist’s conception shows microscopic coronavirus particles. (CDC Illustration)

Checking back to see who’s been in contact with newly identified patients with an infectious disease is a standard technique for containing an epidemic, but experts argue that it’s particularly important for the coronavirus pandemic.

Trevor Bedford, an epidemiologist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, explains why — and lays out a relatively straightforward system for doing contact tracing in combination with testing — in a Twitter thread spun out today.

“We need a huge push to increase the speed and scale of contact tracing, but this doesn’t necessarily require ‘digital’ solutions,” Bedford writes.

The solution suggested by Bedford and his colleagues in the NextTrace effort makes use of mobile device data, but as a supplement to the traditional phone-based and in-phone interviews used in contact tracing.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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