Contact Tracing: Politics or National Health?

Contact Tracing: Politics or National Health?

( – If you’re seen by a healthcare professional over concerns you have COVID-19 or diagnosed with the disease, you’ll be asked a series of questions. One of these includes recalling everyone you came in close contact with, and this information is logged into a database. Those whom you said you were in contact with will be contacted to inform them of possible exposure and provided directions on what to do next.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), contact tracing is a highly-specialized skill that requires training, supervision, and access to social and medical support for patients and contacts. The CDC says contact tracing is confidential and built on trust with patients and contacts. However, trust is easily broken when a political organization is collecting the data.

On April 22, it was reported Michigan improperly bypassed protocols and offered a no-bid contract to a company working exclusively with Democrats to track the spread of COVID-19. Every Action VAN is a division of NGP VAN. Their software is used by most Democratic campaigns, including former President Obama’s in 2008 and 2012. They manage voter contact, fundraising, and campaign compliance operations in all 50 states.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is a rising star in the Democratic Party and an aspiring presidential or vice-presidential candidate. Suspicions were immediately raised that NGP VAN may use the data collected for contact tracing to help the governor’s or other Michigan Democrat’s future campaign.

What’s the Problem?

What happened in Michigan can happen anywhere. Besides, patients are asked many questions other than who they’ve been in contact with that could have been exposed to COVID-19. They may be asked to provide phone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, the names and ages of those who live in the household, voter identification — and more. That’s valuable information to a political outfit whose responsibility is to collect information to help increase voter turnout.

Republicans are becoming deeply concerned that political operations are overseeing medical contact tracing calls. On NGP’s blog, they’re offering a webinar to Democrats titled, “political fundraising during a pandemic.” Once the operation was exposed, Michigan canceled the contract. However, by then, over 12,000 COVID-19 positive patients had provided the company with private medical information that may have ended up in a political database.

For contact tracing to work, it requires full transparency about who’s collecting the data and how it’ll be protected. Otherwise, Americans may have a difficult time trusting those they give their information.

Contact tracing can be a valuable tool that can help save many lives, but only if it’s in the right database.

~Here’s to Your Prosperity!

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