Thursday, May 21, 2020

Better Watch Out! I am a Certified Contact Tracer



I spent much of yesterday getting certified as a Covid-19 Contact Tracer. This online course is offered by Johns Hopkins University through Coursera. It's free, and I could add this certificate to my resume if I had one.

It's billed as a 5-6 hour course, but it took me a full day to get through it. I now know the difference between isolation (that's for a person with Covid-19) and quarantine (that's for a person who has had contact with someone who has Covid-19). I know that a person who is infected with the virus experiences an incubation period before symptoms are manifested. It can be as short as two days or as long as 14 days, with the average incubation period being 5 days. In some cases the person is asymptomatic.

The contact tracer gets in touch with a person who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 for three reasons. First, the person is asked to isolate himself for at least ten days. Second, he is asked to identify any close or proximate contacts he has had, starting with two days before he began to manifest symptoms. Third, you identify resources that could assist with things like food, childcare, rent and medications.

The contact tracer also gets in touch with all close or proximate contacts that the Covid-19 person has had, starting two days before he knew he was sick. A close contact would be a spouse or someone living with you. A proximate contact would be someone you spoke with for 15 minutes or more from a distance of less than six feet. It could also be people who are farther away if you share an office for extended periods. This unfortunate soul is asked to quarantine himself for 14 days from the date of contact.

During this online class, I also learned about technology to help people know if they've been exposed. The application Novid helps you anonymously to trace your exposure to Covid-19. You download this application to your smartphone, and it keeps track of contacts with others who also have downloaded the application. If you or one of them contracts Covid-19, you change your status to "I have tested positive for Covid-19," and Novid then notifies all contacts. Similarly, you are notified if a contact has tested positive. Neither your identity nor that of a contact is revealed. Then it's up to you to self-quarantine.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, so you joined the government surveillance crew. More freedom erodes as "citizens" are recruited to "track" other citizens for the government. This is the crap the county fakebook page was promoting.

Doc Rock said...

Privacy concerns aside, the NOVID app is an invitation to mischief. Potentially on a massive scale. Some 12-year old dweeb downloads the app, goes out and about, say to a grocery store, a home improvement store, and a few other places. He then comes home and "anonymously" falsely reports he has tested "positive" for COVID-19.

Everyone he may have been near who also has the NOVID app is then notified they were in contact with someone who tested positive. In turn, all those people's contacts who have the NOVID app also get contacted, and so on, and so on.

It could soon get out of control, like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM-_XaBVneE

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Unbelievable, so you joined the government surveillance crew. More freedom erodes as "citizens" are recruited to "track" other citizens for the government. This is the crap the county fakebook page was promoting."

I haven't joined anything. I took the course to improve my understanding and see for myself whether it is a "government surveillance crew." Having gone thru the course, I can safely say you are a conspiracy theorist. Contact tracing has been done for decades, and it is only nuts like you who spout this kind of nonsense. I believe strongly in individual freedom and have advocated for opening up and oppose unconstitutional infringements on privacy rights. I saw nothing remotely inappropriate when taking that course.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Some 12-year old dweeb downloads the app, goes out and about, say to a grocery store, a home improvement store, and a few other places. He then comes home and "anonymously" falsely reports he has tested "positive" for COVID-19."

That's possible, but unlikely. The contact has to be within 6' for at least 15 minutes. A preteen can't stand still for 5 seconds, let alone 15 minutes. I downloaded it. If I get a notification, I will think back to people with whom I've had close contact. The real problem is that very few people will download this app.

Doc Rock said...

Bernie said:

"The contact has to be within 6' for at least 15 minutes."

Not to be argumentative, but what is "magical" about that? Has any scientist confirmed that you can only contract COVID-19 from someone you were within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes? Sounds like the NOVID app is not going to detect very many "useful" contacts.

Does that mean facemasks only need to be used if you expect to be within 6 feet of someone else for at least 15 minutes? Say you are standing in the checkout line at a supermarket. Someone (wearing a non-surgical facemask, say a bandanna) sneezes in your direction as they pass by less than six feet away. They later report to NOVID they tested positive. What good is the NOVID app in that case? It would not have picked up your brief, though possibly fatal, interaction with that person.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Doc, the app is set up so that you have to be within 6' of another person for 15 minutes before that person is considered a contact. Thus, I think the example you present is unlikely. Your other question is one I am unable to answer. I have no idea whether studies were performed to determine whether one should be within 6' of someone for 15 minutes or more before it can be concluded that this proximate contact is likely to be infected. We do know that droplets and aerosol particles travel at least that far and do travel an average of 6'. Yet WHO recommends one meter social distance while CDC recommended 6' social distance. I don't know why CDC is nearly double what WHO recommends or whether there is a scientific basis for concluding that a contact must be within 6' for 15 minutes. I am willing to accept it bc it seems logical that brief contacts within 6' are less likely to result in infection than ones of longer duration. Since we knew nothing about SARS-CoV-2 before January, I doubt very much that there have been any meaningful studies. I think a lot of this is on the fly. I'm still trying to figure out how Wolf reached his conclusions concerning going from green to yellow. There appears to be no basis in science or statistics.

As far as NOVID is concerned, it's true that someone who has Covid-19 can sneeze in your face and would not be considered a contact so long as he is near you only briefly. It's not going top pick up all possibilities. It will only pick up a few, and that is only if other people have downloaded the app.

There is no privacy issue bc everything is done anonymously. If I send out an alert that I've tested positive, my contacts will have no idea who it comes from.

Anonymous said...

This is some real Bill Gates New World Order crap. Another way the globalists are working to control people in all ways. Citizens trained to rat on other citizens and share initiate health information. The privacy claim is easily countermanded. This is a rudimentary way to evaluate how to round up certain people.

Can not believe the county administration is promoting this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Most people will see this as well-intended. In addition, I see it mostly as a ‘feel good’ opportunity for those who want to feel safer, or in better health. It’s a little like virtue signaling to everyone that you believe in man-made global warming.

I will not participate by listing names of anyone for further contact by a person/agency other than myself. If I discover symptoms to suggest I might be infected, I’ll first remain home at rest for 2-3 days. If symptoms worse, a visit to a doctor and a test. After that, it’s between me, the doctor, and those within my household.

I might also buy an extra tape measure to carry in my pocket at all times. The goal, it seems, is to remain 6’-1” from everyone. Then, everything will be fine with the world. Just kidding.

Anonymous said...

i tried really hard to come up with a pun bastardization of "contract tracer" but alas, failed

Anonymous said...

2.11
Nothing wrong with taking the course.
contact tracing becomes a problem when a person wraps themselves in the flag and views any questions as a violation of their civil liberties.
And what happens when the suggestion of self isolation is met with "get lost".
That has happened already.

Anonymous said...

5:56 - We’re getting an up close look in Pennsylvania how badly government can handle things. From lousy roads, broken down bridges, wasteful spending, and seemingly endless tax increases.

Citizens are right in being skeptical of government at every level. The pressure and resistance is all we have. This, and voting, while that remains free from fraud and abuse.

Anonymous said...

Very creepy. Please don't call me. I'm checking into the Hershey Lodge, and they'll not let your calls through.

Anonymous said...

"It's billed as a 5-6 hour course, but it took me a full day to get through it."

I thought that WAS a full day for you.

Anonymous said...

Today’s front page article 8n the Morning Call (but researched and written by SpotlightPA) is worth a careful reading.

No one can finish the above article without realizing our Pennsylvania State Government officials and elected politicians are the REAL problem. They are unprepared, incompetent, confused and too slow to work effectively. Your Federal Government has rightfully left design, execution, and accountability up to each state. Most states were up to the challenge, some were not.

The cases/death numbers being reported (such as they are) are the full responsibility of our State, not the Feds.

Next time you vote for people in Pennsylvania to serve you, do so with a change-out attitude, please. It’s the only way

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I thought that WAS a full day for you."

5-6 hours is a full day plus 5 hours of OT, lol.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"No one can finish the above article without realizing our Pennsylvania State Government officials and elected politicians are the REAL problem. They are unprepared, incompetent, confused and too slow to work effectively. Your Federal Government has rightfully left design, execution, and accountability up to each state. Most states were up to the challenge, some were not."

Trump underplayed, Wolf overplayed. Neither has inspired. Between the two, Wolf has been far worse and has hurt a lot of people. I have called Trump an authoritarian, but it turns out the real authoritarian was my Governor.

Anonymous said...

Wolf could use you he wants to stay closed till we get a vaccine this guy is crazy with power--he must be stopped at any costbecause he is killing pa citizens.

Anonymous said...

I'd slam the door in your face if you came to my house.

But I'd have done that even before you were a Certified Contact Tracer.

:)

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I hope some other folks are inspired by your actions. I think the time investment in a free course like this is worth it just for edifying ourselves. Maybe it would convince some others to put the mask on because as we move to yellow it will still be an issue.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:51 said

"Wolf could use you he wants to stay closed till we get a vaccine this guy is crazy with power--he must be stopped at any cost because he is killing pa citizens."



Has the Legislature voted to end the emergency? At some point, the Legislature needs to stand up for itself (as a body, regardless of party).

Right now, the emergency declaration provisions are clearly being abused by the Governor. We're beyond the threat of having our hospitals overwhelmed, and there is nothing so pressing that can't include action and approval by the Legislature.

If the Legislature hasn't taken a vote to end the emergency, they should, along with a concurrent court action to do so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I'd slam the door in your face if you came to my house.

But I'd have done that even before you were a Certified Contact Tracer."


I think I'd slam the door in my face, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Has the Legislature voted to end the emergency? At some point, the Legislature needs to stand up for itself (as a body, regardless of party).
"


As recently as two days ago, the legislature passed its third bill to re-open much of the state's private businesses. Wolf promptly vetoed, and the legislature is unable to override.

Anonymous said...

Trump's inaction cost close to 50,000 lives. Not sure why you or anyone would think that Wolf's "over reaction" is worse, since it has likely saved many lives.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Good for you! I hope some other folks are inspired by your actions. I think the time investment in a free course like this is worth it just for edifying ourselves"

The purpose for taking this course was to give me a better understanding of Covid-19 and just what contact tracers do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Trump's inaction cost close to 50,000 lives. Not sure why you or anyone would think that Wolf's "over reaction" is worse, since it has likely saved many lives."

Without question, Trump's inaction made it more difficult to contain the virus and stop the spread. Wolf's over-reaction is far worse. Not only did it fail to stop the spread, but it ignored the disease where it is most prevalent, i.e. in congregate care settings. Ordering nursing homes to accept positive Covid-19 residents is pure idiocy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie did you get a grant from Allentown PA to cover the cost of this online course?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lol, I'll apply.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the state Supreme Court has affirmed the governor's order and the U.S. Supreme Court bas declined to overrule that.

Such is our constitutional system. Like it or not, the governor is in charge on this.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read the word "globalist:, I know I'm dealing with a kook.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That matter is still under appeal. Moreover, several counties have filed an amicus brief. In addition, several courts have declared similar restrictions on liberty to be unconstitutional. Such is our constitutional system. The power to make and enforce laws should never be vested in one person.

Anonymous said...

Actual time line related to the response of Trump Administration to C0VID-19 -

Jan 14 - World Health Organization (WHO) announces no evidence COVID-19 can be transferred from person to person.
Jan 17 - US Department of Health enacts COVID-19 screenings at major United States International Airports.
Jan 27 - United States COVID-19 Task Force conducts first meeting.
Jan 29 - Trump restricts travel to/from China.
Jan 31 - First case of COVID-19 in America (Washington State)
Feb 29 - First United States death attributed to COVID-19

Sounds like a very early Federal response to me! How could this have kicked-off sooner?


Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...
That matter is still under appeal. Moreover, several counties have filed an amicus brief. In addition, several courts have declared similar restrictions on liberty to be unconstitutional. Such is our constitutional system. The power to make and enforce laws should never be vested in one person.
May 21, 2020 at 10:36 AM

Wolf, our chief executive, is executing a law, the statute that pertains to emergency orders. That law was made by the legislature, and the judicial branch has affirmed. That's hardly a single person making the laws.

And none of those amici briefs has led SCOTUS to so much as agree to hear the case, much less decide in favor of the challengers.

Yes, the Wisconsin emergency order has been overturned by that state's Supreme Court, on a purely partisan vote. And yes, there are states (Ill. comes to mind) in which lower judges have overturned emergency orders that are on appeal. But those states have different laws than PA and so those other rulings have no effect on PA.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, the vote by the Pa. Supreme Court was also partisan. Several federal courts have struck down bans on religious gatherings and there is a federal lawsuit pending regarding the Wolf shutdown. The US Supreme Court has yet to rule, but there is little doubt in my mind that most governors have unconstitutionally exceeded their emergency powers. I find the reasoning from the Wisconsin Supreme Court quite persuasive.

Justice Rebecca Gradley warned against the concentration of power in a single person, i.e. an unelected Health Secretary. All governmental power is derived "from the consent of the governed," and is usually diffused among three different branches of government. "Whenever any branch of government exceeds the boundaries of authority conferred by the people, it is the duty of the judicial branch to say so." Framers of the US Constitution believed that concentration of power in one branch of government is an "extraordinary threat to individual liberty." James Madison, in Federalist No. 47, said this: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Blackstone Law Dictionary defines a "tyrannical government as one in which 'the right both of making and of enforcing the laws, is vested in one and the same man, or one and the same body of men,' for 'wherever these two powers are united together, there can be no public liberty.'"

Thomas Jefferson's warned that "concentrating [all the powers of government] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government."

Historically, we have distrusted governors:

"During the early days of the republic, governors were granted little authority. Distrust of centralized government and lingering anger over colonial governors meant early state constitutions gave governors almost nothing to do. Following his state’s constitutional convention, one North Carolina delegate said that the governor had been given just enough power “to sign the receipt for his salary.”

We have good reason to continue to be distrustful.

Anonymous said...

I acknowledged that there's a challenge to the Wolf emergency order pending before SCOTUS. It's not just that it "has yet to rule", it hasn't even decided to take the case. The only decision made so far has been to deny injunctive relief. Your certainly does not appear to be shared by even the minority of t he members of SCOTUS that is necessary to take up the case.

You ignore my discussion of how all three branches have been involved in the order by Wolf, who was elected and then reelected. And that unelected cabinet secretary was appointed by that twice-elected governor and confirmed by the state senate.

Your reference to Madison is especially interesting, as he was the principal author of a constitution that concentrated in the American president powers that are quite similar to Wolf's.

Checks and balances don't require stalemates. Indeed, they are intended to prevent them so that decisions can be made and the government can move forward.

You just don't like the decision that was made. Many of us do.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no intention of going back and forth with someone who fails to understand the concept of separation of powers and who is ignoring the fact that courts are increasingly ruling against governors precisely bc they are exceeding their emergency powers. What "many" may like or dislike is irrelevant to the Constitution, which exists to prevent a tyranny of the majority. It is easy to scare people and tell them to be afraid, very afraid. That's how authoritarians like you strip people of their rights.

Anonymous said...

@10:39 - all good things listed, but you're applauding a batter for hitting under .200 with a 60% strikeout rate, but yeah a couple bloop infield singles, right on.

For starters - How about enacting a plan in January to develop large scale testing in tandem with massively funded vaccine research? Manufacturing, distributing, implementing and tracking the tests? Ramp up domestic production of PPE? The Federal government BUNGLED the outbreak badly and should have been the leader for a NATIONAL disaster with an "We're all in this together" message, instead of pushing it off on to state governors and letting Democrats make it a partisan issue.

Trump can only do so much, but has surrounded himself with nitwits. If anything that is his biggest failure as President.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if you don't believe in the constitutions, fellas.

Anonymous said...

11:33 - Don’t know how you would know those ‘actions’ you suggest we’re not already under discussion. Maybe you were at the planning table on January 27. Or, maybe you were all tied -up with the Impeachment nonsense that was still ongoing.

State Governors are the closest administrators in every state. They interact directly with County And Local politicians. They are the person responsible for knowing exactly how many medical devices, ppg items, and hospital beds are available within their state. All through this, each had a direct line to the Federal government to ask for assistance and coordinate with sharing products among adjacent states. Again, some Governors knew what best to do, others (Wolf?) did not.

Democrats cautioned us Trump would take over the charge left to states, like a dictator. He did the opposite. Now, you want to complain?

Yes, this unfortunate situation taught us much about our politicians, federal, state, and local. We’ll all have to deal with that next few elections. That’s all we can do.

Anonymous said...

11:33 -

Actually, there has been a focus on a vaccine from the early days of the federal task force.

And if you were living in a state that wasn't run by a democrat egomaniac, the most vulnerable in your state would have been protected and the state would probably have been open weeks ago.

Wolf's decision to enter into a political alliance with other northeastern democrat governors has not served Pennsylvania well.

But it has exposed the truth about elected democrats in this state.

Anonymous said...

I'll give you the information you seek, but we'll have a lengthy discussion about your plans to be saved and whether or not you're ready to meet God. Please call me. I'd love to talk.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't at any meetings in January, but the giant wet fart sound we have here in late May tells me that not nearly enough was done on a federal level at that point. I'm an independent/moderate and by no means thrilled with Wolf's handling of the situation.

This was/is and will continue to be a national crisis. Yes, obviously Governors are closer to the front lines, but with any military operation, orders, organization and leadership has to come from somewhere. Plain and simple, the Federal government either couldn't or simply chose not to do enough.

You happily and eagerly blame Wolf for a myriad of bad decisions, and I will agree with you on a lot of points. It still doesn't change the fact that Trump and his team botched it badly thru either inaction or incompetence.

Yes this has exposed the truth about our elected officials and yes many voters will have that in mind in November.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't at any meetings in January, but the giant wet fart sound we have here in late May tells me that not nearly enough was done on a federal level at that point. I'm an independent/moderate and by no means thrilled with Wolf's handling of the situation.

This was/is and will continue to be a national crisis. Yes, obviously Governors are closer to the front lines, but with any military operation, orders, organization and leadership has to come from somewhere. Plain and simple, the Federal government either couldn't or simply chose not to do enough.

You happily and eagerly blame Wolf for a myriad of bad decisions, and I will agree with you on a lot of points. It still doesn't change the fact that Trump and his team botched it badly thru either inaction or incompetence.

Yes this has exposed the truth about our elected officials and yes many voters will have that in mind in November.

Anonymous said...

11:24

You would have no problem using our government to jam up others because they represent something you don't like. Typical "progressive", you want to talk out of both sides of your mouth.

John said...

I’m planning to do the course through Coursera next week. I’ve applied for a scholarship for reduced monthly fees for a GIS specialization program they offer and starting ANY course before a scholarship/financial aid determination makes me ineligible for the reduced rate.

With my notary license and ordination from the Universal Life Church, I’m going to be ready to do pretty much any government function. Elect me district magistrate! (grin)