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To Re-Open Safely We Need a "Health Force" of Disease Detectives

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/13/re-open-safely-we-need-health-force-disease-detectives

I’ve been on the left for my entire adult life and never before have I been embarrassed to be associated with it, as it is emerging that many on the left don’t see a problem with the concept of mass biological surveillance, contact tracing and forced quarantine including the hinted at forced removal from the home to a “safe” location. And many on the left are cheering the censorship of “dangerous” information on social media platforms, all for our safety. It’s as if all the government has to say is “saving lives” and people are accepting what are clearly unconstitutional executive orders, but not only that, these phrases are exactly what are used by authoritarian governments, including Nazi Germany, as excuses to get the public to comply. It’s for your own good. Now I don’t care where you stand on the pandemic, even if you are terrified of worst case pandemic scenarios, you should, if you are on the left, be at least EQUALLY concerned about civil liberty and abuse of police power.

There’s one thing about the whole “test and trace” approach that I don’t understand. Depending on which study you look at, somewhere between 25% and 50% of those contagious with the COVID virus never even know they’ve got it. They don’t go to a doctor, and they don’t go anywhere near a hospital. But they’re walking around, potentially infecting others. How do you find them? How do you test them? I get how you can test everyone that goes to the doctor with a fever, and maybe even track down everyone they remember being in contact with. But the large group of asymptomatic carriers? That part I don’t understand.