California building “army” to track those infected with COVID-19


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They’re coming for you next: The California government is now building an “army of tracers” to track those infected with COVID-19 and restrict their future movements.

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the concern about inadequate contact tracing on [April 22], announcing plans to train 10,000 people to help local health departments. “The good news is we believe we have the capacity to build an army of tracers,” Newsom said, although he did not say when they’d be ready to deploy.

More on that “army” and its goals here.

“As people move more, we increase the risk for people to get sick,” Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health director and State Health Officer, said in a live stream. “If people get sick, we want to identify those individuals very early, and then make sure that all of their contacts are also identified.”

…The new contact-tracing platform the state announced today will sync up with California’s existing digital disease surveillance platform, and contact tracers can use it to check in on people’s symptoms through texts, chat, emails, and phone automation, according to Angell. Angell emphasized that the database will focus on health information and will be kept confidential. [emphasis mine]

If you believe the last two words of that quote, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

The second link admits that for this whole plan to work, under present privacy laws “people must be willing to cooperate.” I can tell you this: If I am tested for the Wuhan flu, the very last people I will tell my results to will be these fascist thugs. They aren’t really interested in stopping the virus, which is impossible for them to do. No, what they want is to build up a database of people whom they will then have the right to oppress, by law.

And if you don’t believe me, I still have that bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Make you a good deal, too!

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56 comments

  • Max

    They’ll keep your personal information private? Just like the snitchers, informants and those who rat out their neighbors were to remain anonymous?
    I’ll remind you that Congress refuses to get tested, even though they are at risk, most should be in a rest home. hundreds of staffers, and lobbyists just waiting to give them infected money…

    My brother just sent me something new to worry about. “We have nothing to fear”… But an endless stream of more fearful news that only the fearless can handle, I fear.
    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-05/mutant-coronavirus-has-emerged-more-contagious-than-original

    Yes, here we go again. Round 2 (SARS-CoV-2), to send us back into our homes, shaking under our beds.

    I’m getting ready for more mixed messages, like the statement earlier about “not trusting what media doctors say”, Fauci tells us not to shake hands and wear masks but it’s OK to hook up with strangers for sex.
    https://www.insider.com/fauci-hooking-up-with-asymptomatic-tinder-match-doable-but-risky-2020-4

  • Col Beausabre

    “train 10,000 people ”

    Hey, ya gotta do something with all those unemployed

    Plus, look at all those juicy new government workers to unionize!

  • Andrew_W

    Mr. Zimmerman, I get the impression that in your mind a person infected with this virus has no responsibility in terms of preventing themselves spreading it to others, that if they should spread it to others and that someone they infect dies, that they should not be considered responsible for that death, and that you consider that the state has no responsibility for protecting citizens from people infected who would spread it without regard to the welfare of those they infect.

    That’s all at odds with a libertarian perspective where people are responsibly for the effects of their actions when those actions harm others and the state certainly has a role in protecting people from the harmful actions of others.

    Track and trace, which has worked in several countries to help bring infection rates down to very low levels and save thousands of lives, I would consider to be an action appropriate in carrying out a states responsibility of protecting its people – just as much as a state would have a responsibility to track and trace terror cells.

  • Cotour

    IF IT SAVES JUST ONE LIFE.

    An extreme thought process promoted by the “Progressive ” Left, much like “Its for the women and children”. Who could argue with such thinking? Who is against women and children?

    And what is it we find in these justifications for extreme and lopsided thought processes? Slavery and the surrendering of individual freedoms.

    So there is a reasonable middle ground that is the goal in America. Not too much, and everyone has a responsibility to act reasonably and to also have the judgement to protect themselves as they see fit. Some would propose that the risk / reward equation be replaced with the safety of the collective. This is where some ones interpretation of Libertarianism begins to sound like Socialism.

    There are limits, even in a declared national emergency.

  • Andrew_W: I have found that is generally a waste of time to try to have a discussion with you, as you usually have a total inability to read carefully what people write.

    Your interpretation of my position is wrong. Of course each person is personally responsible. In a time of an disease epidemic that focuses its harm on the elderly and sick, you don’t go around rubbing your nose in the faces of such people. You exercise caution and discretion around people who are at risk. This is what I have been doing, aggressively.

    At the same time, you do not cringe from the young and healthy (including older people like myself who are in excellent health). Nor do you encourage politicians to destroy the world’s economy so that millions are possibly faced with starvation and significant deprivation, unnecessarily. I’ve written this several times already: You do a common sense cost-benefit analysis, rationally, and take reasonable precautions that harm as few as possible, both as an individual as well as a society.

    We have not done this, and so we will pay for our foolishness, badly, both in increased poverty and a loss in freedom.

    Your comment also distorts the libertarian perspective to an absurd point, where it somehow justifies the government tracking and restricting the freedom of people, forever, because they happen to have or not have antibodies for a disease.

    I really am not writing this for you, because I have found that you will refuse to understand what I have written, and will instead distort it. I am actually writing this for my other readers, to make it clear that my position has nothing to do with your very faulty and ugly interpretation above.

  • Cotour

    LIBERTARIANISM:

    Libertarianism, or libertarism, is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing economic and political systems.

    Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions. Different categorizations have been used to distinguish various forms of libertarianism. This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.

    A definition at great odds with some here on BTB who seem to be working the exact wrong end of the equation, and like most on the more Left and Socialist oriented among us default to the power of the state and call that freedom. A self confusion due to improper education on the subject and indoctrination? You tell me.

    And I once again say that Libertarianism is not a platform for a political party, it is a personal philosophy.

  • Cotour: Are you quoting some one else’s definition of Libertarianism? It seems so. If so, you should indicate it. Otherwise you could be accused of plagiarism.

    If you are not quoting someone else that you have my apology. Your comment does read however as if you are.

  • Cotour

    You are correct, I failed to include quotation marks, my mistake. (Was in a rush, am in the middle of cooking :)

    The reference was acquired from BING:

    “Libertarianism, or libertarism, is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing economic and political systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions. Different categorizations have been used to distinguish various forms of libertarianism. This is done to distinguish libertarian views on the nature of property and capital, usually along left–right or socialist–capitalist lines.”

  • Andrew_W

    as you usually have a total inability to read carefully what people write.
    From the man who again and again misinterprets the links he offers and fails to check the veracity of those links.

    Your comment also distorts the libertarian perspective to an absurd point, where it somehow justifies the government tracking and restricting the freedom of people, forever, because they happen to have or not have antibodies for a disease.
    You just made that up, nothing I’ve said, and nothing in the Cal Matters link you offer, justifies your accusation.

  • Cotour

    This is where you run off the rails Andew W:

    “Track and trace, which has worked in several countries to help bring infection rates down to very low levels and save thousands of lives, I would consider to be an action appropriate in carrying out a states responsibility of protecting its people – just as much as a state would have a responsibility to track and trace terror cells.”

    You are apparently all too willing to surrender what it is that you say that you believe, you surrender your freedom and privacy for “Safety”. Your just going to have to think about this one.

  • Andrew_W

    If you’re ever interviewed by a cop as a witness to a possible or alleged crime you surrender your privacy. As far as I can see, there’s no compulsion mentioned in cooperating with the covid track and trace teams, so there’s no freedom surrendered by people in the track and trace efforts.

  • Cotour

    One thing that I have learned over the years in learning and studying about the Constitution and freedom as it is, you never allow yourself to be interviewed by a cop. Especially as an excellent example, the FBI. See: Michael Flynn, Jerome Corsey, Rodger Stone, etc, etc.

    Once again, your default position is that you will be interviewed by a cop.

    Your just going to have to think this out.

  • Andrew_W

    Well, if every witness decided not to cooperate with police there would be a lot more unsolved crimes in the world, a lot more killers running free – a bit like Covid-19 in the US.

  • Andrew_W

    You run a store, would you like all the witnesses to any hold-ups you suffer to turn and walk away? Perhaps they already do.

  • Cotour

    Your just going to have to think it out.

    See: Michael Flynn, Jerome Corsey and Rodger Stone.

    “You have the right to remain silent” (In America anyway), know where it comes from and what it means in the broader context of what we are discussing.

  • Andrew_W

    And with the covid track and trace, “You have the right to remain silent”.

  • George

    Let me just throw this out there: by extension, and power-hungry politicians and government will extend, this echoes of Jim Crow, to a degree. Let’s track and herd a class of people solely on the basis of what we don’t like and declare dangerous. It also falls in the boat of declaring everything a mental illness and then banning ownership of firearms to the mentally ill. It’s a slippery slope, and a steep one. Bear in mind, that these days, privacy is pretty much a moot point, unless one doesn’t carry around a cellular telephone or conduct any sort of electronic transactions.

  • Andrew_W

    slippery slope
    You said that if we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen too, therefore A should not happen.
    The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to extreme hypotheticals. Because no proof is presented to show that such extreme hypotheticals will in fact occur, this fallacy has the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by leveraging fear. In effect the argument at hand is unfairly tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture.

    Example: Colin Closet asserts that if we allow same-sex couples to marry, then the next thing we know we’ll be allowing people to marry their parents, their cars and even monkeys.
    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope

  • Cotour

    When you say “Track and trace”, what exactly does that mean?

    For instance, what does it mean in Orwellian China?

    Your context for track and trace appears to be absolute, and something like track and trace must be done within certain parameters where the privacy of the individual must be taken into account.

    If not, then what?

  • Cotour

    Regarding your citing Slippery Slope:

    Again, see: Michael Flynn, Jerome Corsey, Rodger Stone.

    A real world real time example of abuse of power by government agencies and employees. Just like who would administer Track and Trace, the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, etc. etc.

    Keep thinking.

  • George

    Andrew_W, your argument applies equally to the argument to shut the country down. These infection models are just that- hypotheticals.

  • David M. Cook

    Robert, that bridge deal sounds great! I may make you an offer, but that track & trace, not so much. Andrew W., I think it‘s madness to give any kind of power like that to the states, or the federal government!

  • Andrew_W

    When you say “Track and trace”, what exactly does that mean?
    It means once you’ve identified an infected person you ask them for people that they’ve bee in close contact with that they may have passed the virus to, you contact those people and inform them that they’ve been in contact with a confirmed infected person, check with them as to whether they have symptoms, to advise them to self isolate if they have or if they develop symptoms, and advise them to seek medical advice if they develop symptoms that could be covid.
    I’ve seen no evidence of compulsion in track and trace in NZ or in the US, most people are happy to cooperate, aware that if infected that their infection poses a risk to themselves, family and acquaintances.

    Keep thinking.
    I have been, when are you going to start, instead of just spouting the narrative?

  • Andrew_W

    I think it‘s madness to give any kind of power like that to the states, or the federal government!
    What “power”? The power to call people on the phone? The power to ask people about any symptoms through “texts, chat, emails, and phone automation”?
    “Asking” is not much of a power.

  • Andrew_W

    George, there’s very solid international evidence that contagious viruses like the flu and colds are transferred from one person to the next through contaminated surfaces and close proximity, Covid-19 fits that model of transmission. There’s very little evidence that these diseases get from person to person through magic or some form of teleportation.

  • Cotour

    Chilling.

    So nice and polite: “most people are happy to cooperate, aware that if infected that their infection poses a risk to themselves, family and acquaintances.”

    This is not about a narrative, its about the potential for the abuse of power and what you propose without any controls or safeguards related to the individuals privacy is just that, chilling. The potentials are unlimited.

    Ask the Chinese people about open ended government activities. Social rating system, face recognition, it all has the potential to become one in the same.

    Q: Should someone with the virus or the antibody be tagged in some manner? Maybe a chip that identifies them? Should they have to always carry their documentation with them to establish that they are OK? Should they be allowed to travel? What jobs can they have? What jobs can they not have?

    Are you aware of where the Chinese have taken these exact methods of control over their population? Tracking, socially rating, micro managing THEIR people. And they truly are THEIRS, the Communist Chinese government literally owns the people. That is the extreme at one end of the spectrum, its real and if the Globalists have there way its coming soon to a government near you. And you will apparently be good with it.

    So please be careful related to what it is that you think government should be doing to keep everyone “safe”.

  • Andrew_W

    Q: Should someone with the virus or the antibody be tagged in some manner? Maybe a chip that identifies them? Should they have to always carry their documentation with them to establish that they are OK? Should they be allowed to travel? What jobs can they have? What jobs can they not have?

    Calm down Cotour, read my reply to George about the slippery slope fallacy.Resist the temptation to dream up what if fantasies with no basis in the reality we have in Western democracies.

  • Cotour: As you said, chilling.

    I am presently rereading both Churchill’s WWII memoirs as well as William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. They both describe many people who remind me of Andrew_W, people who simply cannot believe others might have vicious or evil intents. Neville Chamberlain comes to mind. So do the many ordinary and decent German businessmen who backed Hitler in his early career because they nonchalantly dismissed his own words, as written in Mein Kampf.

    What is even more chilling is that Andrew_W is the norm today, not the exception. We who fear the rise of a new fascism are in the minority.

  • Cotour

    If you truly understand than you must recognize the potentials that exist, no matter how likely you think they are or are not likely to exist.

    Without being able to recognize and enumerate the potentials for the abuse of power related to the subject at hand and build in safeguards for privacy then you are the problem here.

    Your default position is that “it can never happen here in todays world”. That my friend is where it all begins. The people who wrote and fashioned the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights knew exactly what it is that you are unable or unwilling to recognize, the nature of man related to governance and power.

  • Cotour

    If one is unable to learn from the lessons of history, then they are condemned to repeat them. I just do not want them to take me and the people that I care about and my country along for the ride. And that is why it is important at worthwhile to at least attempt to get someone to see a different perspective, especially when they appear to be so dug in and defensive of their incomplete position.

    All potentials exist all the time, fail to understand that and choose to look away and look to be “happy to cooperate”, and you find yourself right on that slippery slope. And then what do you have?

  • Andrew_W

    If we look at actual cases of democratic countries falling into autocracy the process is always the same: The country becomes divided between distinct factions, with one or the other gaining supremacy and using force to retain power. The US is the only Western country that’s heading that way at the moment. Throughout the rest of the Western world countries have become more united against this threat, the US is alone in becoming even more factionalized, instead of uniting, it’s become even more divided.

    Always, but always, when a faction usurps power in a previously stable democracy the justification for doing so is given as the “others might have vicious or evil intents”, always, but always, the reasoning is that it’s us that are the good guys, the others are the evil guys, and we’re justified in using whatever means are necessary to defeat the evil of the others.

    That’s how the Nazi’s thought, that’s how the Leninist’s thought, that’s how the Islamists think.
    I’m optimistic that the democratic structure in the US is robust, probably robust enough to survive those advocating for control over “others” that “might have vicious or evil intents”. But it could still happen, people never see themselves as the evil, but reason that the ends justify the means – even when those means are “evil”.

  • Cotour

    The problem with what you propose is that I, nor I think anyone else here is exactly choosing a side here.

    When I say all potentials exist, I mean that all potentials for abuse of power exist on all sides all the time. Our Constitution formulates the counter balance to that potential, its just that simple. And knowing that and understanding history and the nature of man related to governance and power and the potential for that power to be abused there must exist safe guards and counter balances to that potential.

    —-

    Lets choose to choose a side: If you see the fractionation in America then you must understand what our / my serious an on going concerns are.

    What is my personal metric? Who is recognizing and respecting the Constitution as formulated and what it structures and who is working to have it continue as It was formulated? And who endeavors to rewrite or “adjust” it? Something that is not IMO to be done willy nilly because to make those adjustments have real and far reaching consequences related to the Constitutions fundamental intent, personal freedom and Liberty.

    Andrew W, can you answer that question for me from the perspective of an outsider who is watching what is underway in America? Do you see the Democrat leadership, or the Republican leadership under the leadership of the Trump administration as being the one doing so, up holding the Constitution as intended?

    Are you aware of the several mayors and governors within the 50 states and the different manner in which they are expressing their power and understanding of the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights? Some have great respect and understanding, and others have no connection or understanding.

    And if you can answer that question then you will better understand why these questions about surveillance and tracking is so important, in America anyway. These issues are not to be casually disregarded, I use the Chinese as the most extreme example of a real world real time country that has gone exactly where you say things will not or can not go.

    The only worse example is North Korea.

    Your inability to see further than your argument is dangerous, to me anyway.

  • Andrew_W

    Neither side is good or evil, problems develop when each side sees the other as evil. As you wrote in comment on an earlier thread (agreeing with me) everyone has the right to do what’s in their own interests. To many questioning the rigid edicts of the Constitution is evil, in the same way as questioning the Bible is to a fundamentalist Christian is evil.

    This will be heresy to your ears, but America should be controlled by the Americans alive today, not those that lived 200+ years ago.
    The US Constitution is at the heart of many of the disputes in America today, those on the right cannot see freedom in any form other than that written in the Constitution, the possibility may not even be considered.
    The US is not rated as the freest Western country in the world today by organizations like CATO and The Heritage Foundation, other countries without such electoral and judicial rigidity have become freer.

  • Andrew_W

    Sorry about the punctuation, not a strength of mine.

  • pzatchok

    Can we apply track and trace to HIV/AIDS?

    What if in the future we as a safe society decide all those infected must be sent to isolated places?

    As I go about my daily life what if I infect someone? Someone I just pass in the street? Someone I bumped into on mass transit?

    Unless you can absolutely isolate the infected from everyone else then track and trace means squat.

    its just a rule or law that can later be used to quarantine someone for anything.
    Do you fully trust your future leaders? Those who are not even born yet? Would you have trusted Hitler?

    Andrew_W
    By the way we are controlled by Americans alive today.
    I just like having as much control over me and mine as possible. I am alive.

    And I do not think you really understand the US constitution and our Bill or rights.
    You have to read and understand it from a personal private point of view.

  • Rose

    @pzatchok: Can we apply track and trace to HIV/AIDS?

    We already do. Programs like this are a standard part of modern public health practice.

    A good Nurse Practitioner friend of mine with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology worked for several years in an urban setting primarily running programs just like this to contain tuberculosis and syphilis outbreaks, but has done work with HIV contact tracing as well.

    The level of paranoia here is running high. HIV patients aren’t microchipped (not that it hasn’t be advocated by many in the public), so why would anyone even think this would be considered for people infected with a disease which resolves one way or the other within a few weeks, and which will leave those who recovered not contagious but instead most likely immune.

    The only issue here is the scale of the operation. I just doubt lockdowns can be held long enough to bring infection rates low enough for such a program to have much success in the US, but maybe I’m wrong and they will have a mitigating effect.

    What we need is informed consent volunteer human experimentation programs to determine:
    * Vaccine effectiveness — Don’t wait for the phase III trials to show their effectiveness through chance infection in the wild. Test it directly
    * Degree of infection acquired immunity
    * Effects of initial viral load on severity of illness

    Such programs may lead to the develop an effective and relatively safe variolation-like inoculation program.

    * https://thezvi.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/taking-initial-viral-load-seriously/

  • Cotour

    The level of “paranoia” here on BTB on this subject of the government, any government, tracking, surveilling, watching, listing, testing, documenting, mandating, categorizing its citizens in some way shape or form is well founded. Especially when someone who supports and proposes such methods of disease mitigation and control refuses to even recognize the potential for abuse and the usurping individual freedom in some way shape or form that they potentially represent.

    All potentials for the abuse of power always exist, and there are multiple examples of how government agencies have in fact and in deed abused their power to the detriment of the American people. (If you have not been paying attention for the last 4 years)

    Anyone here who universally assumes that these proposed government programs of testing and potential control of individuals in America, really anywhere, will naturally be run and administered under only their set of subjective, “good” and “moral” set of rules is in a word, naïve.

    So to propose such programs without at least recognizing these real potentials of the abuse of power to me is at the minimum naïve, narrow and uniformed, and at the maximum very, very dangerous. Not everyone on the planet thinks like you and there are people within our own government who given the opportunity WILL usurp your Rights and freedoms. And they will always use the justification that “Its the best for everyone”, or “If it saves just one life”, or “Its for the women and children”, what ever bumper sticker psyops justification they want to stick on it that makes you feel good.

    So why have this conversation at all when it appears that those involved are so dug in? Only for the possibility that those and their narrow subjective perspective may in time understand the full potentials that exist related to the potential for the abuse of power, and if someone else who following these arguments and interactions and is also confused on the subject and might better understand.

    Just recognize the potential for the abuse of power before you go to “solve” a problem that may bring with it the short or even long term consequences related to what the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights actually means. That is really my primary point here.

  • commodude

    It’s not paranoia when they start talking about tracking via cell phone datalogging.

    It’s already been proven that the government can, has, and will abuse any powers given to them in that realm. FISA, the “Patriot” act, and other boondoggles have done nothing more than reveal to the American people that they should be concerned. It’s not paranoia when the agency causing concern has been repeatedly caught abusing their power.

  • pzatchok

    We do not have 10,000 people tracking HIV/AIDS patients.
    Their doctors do it.

    We do not track and trace the flu, measles, mumps or rubella. The case is just reported as a case of. No names and no one knocking on your door.

    Will this new group of government workers be going house to house or making spot checks on you?

    If not why even have them?

  • Rose

    @pzatchok We do not have 10,000 people tracking HIV/AIDS patients.

    No, but the US sees about 70 new HIV cases diagnosed daily, not 30,000.

    Their doctors do it.

    No, that is not the doctor’s job. It is the job of public health workers. That is why there are MPH Epidemiology programs.

    We do not track and trace the flu, measles, mumps or rubella.

    Not the flu — well, epidemiologists do sometimes conduct tracing in high risk institutional environments such as nursing homes and hospitals in order to contain an outbreak and improve any flaws in practices which led to it (motivated in part by financial penalties imposed by Medicare for nosocomial infections) — but not the flu in general. This is probably due to a combination of its lesser severity and its wide spread, the latter making it a very difficult problem — and what makes me pessimistic about the benefit of this proposed program in the US.

    Measles, mumps or rubella? Most definitely. Perhaps not the individual, apparently isolated case, but tracing is regularly done as part of efforts to contain outbreak hotspots. The US has a significant public health infrastructure which goes unrecognized by most people who never interact with it.

    … going house to house …

    Sounds inefficient when both interviews and notification can be conducted by phone. It is not as if there is any stigma associated with catching this disease. Tracing the spread of STDs is made much more difficult by the attached stigma, and tracers spend a lot of time establishing trust and rapport with patients.

    If not why even have them?

    In areas where the infection level is low enough, why would you think it would not be beneficial to have a program which notifies people that they were recently in close contact with someone who has just been diagnosed. Contact tracing programs were a large part of NZ’s success, which is probably by Andrew is defending it so tirelessly. But the US is not NZ, in many, many ways. We will see how effective it is here.

  • Cotour

    WOULD YOU PLEASE GET OUT OF YOUR INTELLECTUALIZED JUSTIFIED HIGH IQ SUBJECTIVE WORLD AND AT THE MINIMUM RECOGNIZE THE POTEMTIAL FOR ABUSE !?! Please.

    (I apologize for the all caps response, but this is really getting on my nerves. High IQ nerds have their place in the world but only after there exists some form of leadership or a movement that can contain and direct their efforts in doing what it is that they are good at so they do not run amuk and threaten all that is good)

  • Kathysaysso

    In the 1930’s, critics of the implementation of social security numbers were scoffed at and derided over their fear that such numbers would be used to “track” people. The public was assured that the numbers would only be used by the tax man.

    When I switched my health insurance coverage to Blue Cross, BC demanded my social security number. I explained to the woman on the phone that BC didn’t need my number as it was neither a taxing authority nor a financial institution. She insisted BC needed my social security number. I asked why. She explained, “So we can track your medical care.” We had quite the lengthy argument. I prevailed and BC insured me without my SS number.

    My dentist’s office asked for my number. I asked why. The clerk explained, “So we can track you if you don’t pay your bills.”

    My university asked for my number. I asked why. I was told, “It is used as your identifying number.”

    California’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles demands my number so they can revoke my license for any non-payment if child support if necessary. I do not have children.

    I applied for a job in 1990, and the young woman told me she would need my SS number. I explained I would provide it upon employment. She said she would need it prior to employment to check my financial background. I asked her for hers so that I might do the same. Needless to say, we parted company.

    Those critics in the 30’s were correct.

  • Rose

    wouldn’t you rather make fact base warnings about realistic potential abuses of such a program than fantastical warnings based on false assumptions as the latter is more easily refuted and is a poor choice unless your goal is not effective argument but instead just preaching to and riling up the choir

    (I apologize for the lower case, unpunctuated reply, but I was pretending to channel ee cummings, despite never reading any of his work.)

    I’ve not read the linked articles as my posts were just intended to address pzatchok’s misconceptions — most people seldom interact with our public health infrastructure — but yes, I can imagine abuses. Perhaps they will actually require home visits instead of more efficient telephone interviews, and then count the number of ceiling fans and report to the local building permits office to ensure the required paperwork was drawn for their installation, or perhaps they will come up with an excuse to look in my gun safe and check the capacity of my magazines. (I’d be more worried about the former since I don’t live in CA, but those who do may feel differently.)

    More realistically, the concern should be over the discussion — which as far as I know hasn’t happened in the US yet — over enforced isolation or quarantine. If the infection rate was low enough, I could see enforced isolation being accepted. (But for the scale, it isn’t much different than what is done with uncooperative, infectious TB patients.)

    Enforced quarantine is more problematic. Suppose you are traveling in a few day for an important business deal which I want to see fall through, and that you are running one of those Bluetooth-ping contact tracking apps. I recruit someone who is mildly ill with the disease and has some pretty definitive symptoms but hasn’t gone in for testing, then borrow their phone running the same app and hang out in close proximity to you for fifteen minutes before returning the phone and paying my recruit to get tested. Bang! You get notified that you are under house arrest (or just strongly suggested isolation) for the next two weeks without even being told who you were exposed to.

    Medical privacy and patient confidentiality are strongly held values in the US. (Not strongly enough in my opinion, as I feel you should in general be able pay cash for anonymous medical care without the provider reporting your condition to the government or insurance companies. ) But in the particular context of contact tracing, notification, and even just suggested quarantine for this disease, I think I’d rather there be public release of the names of those tested positive. I’ve not thought this through, and there may be downsides (other than the slippery slope), but this is not a stigmatized disease, and I don’t want to be informed that I need a two week quarantine because I came in contact with *someone* who remains unidentified. How do I know there wasn’t an error in the process? Perhaps the tracer was supposed to contact someone Harriet Tuttle, not Harriet Buttle, but she misheard during the patient interview. (Silly bunt!)

  • Andrew_W

    The US needs to work out which course it’s going to take, if it’s going to fight this disease with a small dose of the type of discipline imposed by any organization requiring unity to fight an opponent, or whether the US is going to surrender, accepting the million plus fatalities of that course of inaction.
    All very literally give me freedom, or give my neighbors death.

  • pzatchok

    Rose

    I do understand that we report cases of severe diseases to the CDC.

    But the CDC does not then call all your neighbors to tell them about it.

    If we did something like that we would have to call 5 million+ people on Long Island alone. We would be calling the same people every day. All day.

    Do you really think that will be effective in New York city? You will first panic everyone then they will ignore you totally. Then they will order you to stop calling.

    Testing and counting cases does nothing but make a few people feel good. Track and trace are the very same thing.

    We have better things to think about now.
    Like getting our kids back to school. That will be happening in just a few short months. Are we ready? Does your local school system have a plan?
    You better hope we have a herd immunity by then.

  • Rose

    pzatchok,

    But the CDC does not then call all your neighbors to tell them about it.

    No, the CDC doesn’t do day-to-day contact tracing — that is the roll of the local health authorities — but they do issue guidelines. For instance: “Guidelines for the Investigation of Contacts of Persons with Infectious Tuberculosis”
    * https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5415a1.htm
    (I keep coming back to TB control just because this is what my friend spent several years doing.)

    And no, the local health department doesn’t call all the neighbors, but they do counsel and test closer contacts. It’s not about calling everyone who rode in the same subway car as the patient, but more about counseling and testing (PPD skin test) members of the group home, classroom, etc. Most contacts are quite willing to be tested and appreciate the support, but as far as I know coercion is not used on contacts.

    Coercion is however, regularly used on uncooperative TB patients. Treatment compliance is a common problem and drug-resistant or multidrug-resistant TB is a worrying consequence of incomplete treatment. Thus many programs have the public health worker meet with the patient daily to deliver that day’s dose of antibiotics and watch the patient take it. (With a significant case load, this becomes a time consuming process). Court orders are regularly placed on uncooperative patients, and very occasionally those who continue to resist are incarcerated for the duration of their treatment.

    I’m really not just trying to nit-pick your comments. But understanding that such coercion has long been widely accepted as an appropriate use of state power in the US (and knowing the details, I don’t have any problem with it in the case of TB) is important because people will look to existing programs for precedence in determine what is appropriate with covid-19. That is where the discussion needs to be, because not every action appropriate for one disease is necessarily appropriate for another.

    Earlier when replying to Cotour, I wrote, “concern should be over the discussion — which as far as I know hasn’t happened in the US yet — over enforced isolation or quarantine”. See yesterday’s announcement from the Ventura County Health Director.

  • wayne

    Rose–
    “Coercion is however, regularly used on uncooperative mental-health clients,” as well.
    It’s a small percentage, but it does happen, and there is a well established process in place.

    Back in my case-manager days, I spent a bit of time doing ‘med-drops’ and watching people physically swallow their anti-psychotics. (starts out twice daily and ideally ends with once a week. You can take them at home, or we’ll force them into you at the hospital, your choice.)
    In these situations–the person has already had their day in court, in front of the judge.
    Q: I assume it’s similar when the County Nurse has to deliver the TB meds?

  • pzatchok

    Coercion is a nice term that just means force.

    And your talking about mental health cases. people deemed by the court as not being of sound mind.
    And watch, as soon as that TB treatment is over the state lets that person right back out on the street to get it again. Even though they have been deemed incapable of taking care of themselves the state lets them run free. They should be institutionalized.

    And since there is a TB vaccine. Why do we not give it to everyone who wants it?

  • pzatchok

    And Andrew W

    The US has done far far more than Sweden but I don’t see you worried about them as much as us in the USA.

    Why is that?

    And if your really worried why not worry as much about Africa?

    According to the pandemic paranoias all of Africa should just up and die. As a whole that continent is getting virtually NO treatment and not doing anything about it in large scale.
    Whats their death rate?

  • Max

    “Coercion is a nice term that just means force.”

    From the link Rose posted above in this conversation;

    “”We should be studying with experiments how Covid-19 spreads, and how likely each method is to work, using controlled experiments. Yes, this involves infecting individuals. Considering how many lives are at stake and the ability to test using young healthy volunteers who are then isolated, I fail to see how anyone who objects on the basis of ‘ethics’ knows what that word means, or why we should listen to them.””

    The next step is Dr. Mangala style infection effect on twins. Perhaps they can get their subjects from north Africa on the slave market, healthy Christians take them from their homes to be used as test subjects or as the Chinese do to the Uighurs, keep them healthy until their organs are needed. There’s always force like the 10,000 bodies they found in Syria from doctors removing organs from Isis captives. These are not hypothetical examples, but actual real events as you look away today, now.

  • Rose

    @Max Really? I ask honestly, as I’ve reread your comment half a dozen times looking for hints of sarcasm. That’s the sort of over-the-top, false equivalency / slippery slope argument I’d expect to see on a bleeding-heart liberal site, but not here.

    You do understand that we are talking about well informed, fully consenting volunteers, right? I’m certainly no youngster, but I’d jump at the chance to participate in such a study. I figure I’ll catch it at some point anyhow, and I might as well contribute to our understanding in the process. And if I’m part of a program testing the effects of small initial viral loading, then I’d likely have the added benefit of a milder disease progression.

    The last thing I want is laws passed to protect me from myself. If such restrictions are now considered acceptable by conservative libertarians, then the country is much worse off than I though.

    Max, should phase 1 (safety testing) of new vaccine candidates on informed, consenting volunteers be banned as well? (And apologies if your post was sarcasm which I failed to detect.)

  • Rose: Are you Jewish? Because if you are Jewish, you understand exactly where Max is coming from.

    And if you are Jewish and do not understand where he is coming from, then you really known nothing of all Jewish history. There is a reason we joke that every Jewish religious holiday can be summed up as “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”

  • Andrew_W

    pzatchok
    Why is that?

    Because this is a site inhabited mainly by Americans.

    If this were Liberia’s Front Page Africa, I would be talking about the situation in Liberia.

    If this was Kiwiblog, I’d be talking about how things are in NZ.

  • Andrew_W

    Because if you are Jewish, you understand exactly where Max is coming from.

    Certainly different peoples have different mindsets and perspectives, the French, Chinese, Americans, Muslims and undoubtedly Jews etc all see the world from their given perspectives, most people cannot let go of that perspective. As I see it it’s a bit like Einstein’s Relativity, there are no privileged positions, we look at the universe and see the solar system moving around us or the other galaxies all rushing away from us – and the naive think “we must be at the center” people who see things that way in the human world are incapable of looking at the world anything close to rationally, and unfortunately (in this context) we’re genetically programmed that way, to not see things that have a bearing on our lives objectively, we’re programmed to see things as best enhances our interests and survival.
    All reminds me of the character The Zec, played by Werner Herzog in the first Jack Reacher film, sad and funny really.

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