Learn about contact tracing and help contain the COVID-19 pandemic
The fight against the virus that is causing the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic will need the skills of public health and medical professionals, but it will also need an army of volunteers to help identify people who may have been exposed to the virus. If you think you may want to be one of these volunteers, you can prepare yourself for this challenge by taking a no-cost online course from one of the world’s premier universities that will provide you with the basic skills needed to help identify those at risk of getting infected.
For a variety of reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage in the United States months after the initial peak of infections in April 2020. By late June, there have been over 2.5 million infections in the US with over 125,000 deaths. Even as the number of daily infections is dropping in many parts of Europe, the US is experiencing a steadily increasing number of infections.
Controlling the spread of the virus
COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, and from the early medical and scientific evidence, it appears that most people are at risk of being infected. Also, there is currently no vaccine available that can protect people from infection. For these and other reasons, the following are the best methods available for controlling the spread of the virus:
- Keeping our distance from one another — This is something that is being done around the world by doing things like frequent hand washing, maintaining a reasonable distance from one another, and by wearing masks or other face coverings.
- Isolating those who have an active infection — This means keeping those who are currently infected, whether they are in a hospital or not, away from others, including family members.
- Quarantining those who have been exposed — This means identifying anyone who has been exposed to someone who is either showing symptoms or who is highly infectious and having them stay away from other people until either that exposed person shows symptoms or until it is reasonably certain that the person is not infected.
Identifying those who have been exposed is the key
The simple truth, not just for coronavirus but for any infectious disease, is that the best way to stop the spread is to keep others from being infected. Finding people who have been exposed to the disease, and keeping them away from others, is often the best way to do this. Public health authorities for generations have used a method called contact tracing to do the following:
- Identify people who may have been exposed to the disease,
- Check to see if that person is showing signs of illness, and
- Providing information and other resources to help that person deal with their situation.
Doing these things usually involves having a trained person contact individuals and having a one-on-one conversation to find out if that person is at risk. While public health and medical professionals are able to do this, there are simply not enough of these professionals to do this job. When it comes to a pandemic like COVID-19, what is needed are tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people, both professionals and volunteers, to do this job, but only after receiving appropriate training.
Contact tracers are needed, learn how to do this sooner rather than later
If you look around in your local community, you may see opportunities to volunteer to become a contact tracer. If you think this is something that you want to do, you can get a head start by learning the basics from one of the premier schools of public health in the US. The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health is offering without charge an online contact tracing course. Almost half a million students from all over the world have taken the course. For those who complete the course, Johns Hopkins also offers a certificate that you can use to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject, and you can even place a link to that certificate on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media account.
The course is available for no charge
This course, COVID-19 Contact Tracing, which is offered through Coursera, normally costs $49, but it is being offered without charge. Even if you don’t want to become a contact tracer, the information offered in this online course can help you understand how to reduce the COVID-19 risks faced by your family and friends, your business, or your organization.
Your next step — Take action!
If you are interested, follow this link to the course and check it out today.
- More Americans may die from coronavirus than from every war in US history
- Communicating about coronavirus is not just for the experts
- Flattening the COVID-19 Curve in the Black Community — A conversation with NBA Legend Carmelo Anthony
- The COVID-19 crisis is going to get much worse when it hits rural areas
- Fortune magazine articles from the dean of the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health