What You Should Know About Contact Tracing
An epidemiologist explains
Is going out to eat actually safe? Katie Couric’s publication, Wake-Up Call, recently interviewed Dr. Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about contact tracing and reopening. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Wake-Up Call: Restaurants and other businesses are starting to reopen in certain places, and many Americans are likely anxious or unsure of what’s actually safe. As an infectious disease epidemiologist, what advice do you have for them? What’s safe right now, and what isn’t?
Gurley: We’re still learning about exactly how this virus is transmitted, and more research is needed to fully assess risks. However, the evidence we have so far suggests that most transmission happens when someone has very close and long contact with someone who is infectious. For example, cases are most likely to infect the people they live with and spend a lot of time with.
This poses difficulties for stopping transmission within households but suggests that more casual contact outside the home is lower risk. There is no “zero-risk” life for Covid-19 unless you truly live a life without contact with the outside world. However, current recommendations to spend time with others outdoors is a good one as transmission risk is much, much lower if you’re outside. Wearing masks indoors is a good idea so that you don’t unknowingly infect anyone else — face coverings can help protect others from you. And keep washing your hands.
Read the full interview below.