Today, we delivered 1674 signatures to the National Governors’ Association, as well as to each state’s governor, urging them to develop strategies for the time after the current lockdowns. We all want to return to our normal lives – as much as possible – but this requires keeping the virus from flaring up again as soon as the current restrictions are eased. We don’t want to see a second wave that is as bad (or worse) than the first one we are experiencing right now.
Since we started the petition on April 9, the need for a strategy beyond the lockdowns has seen more widespread coverage. On April 10, Google and Apple announced that they are working together on a system to alert those who have been in contact with somebody who later turns out to be infected. Experts like Dr. Fauci (director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) and Dr. Redford (head of the CDC) have stressed the need of contact tracing. It’s not yet in the front-page headlines, but it’s generally acknowledged as an essential tool for a future without constant lockdowns.
Despite these encouraging news, the petition – and your signature – remain important, because the advice of experts, no matter how clear and irrefutable, is not always turned into public policy, even in life-and-death situations. While the CDC ramping up its efforts, there are currently only 600 people working on contact tracing – yet most estimates suggest that 300,000 are needed. Decisions need to be made, money has to be allocated – all these things don’t happen without us, as citizens, urging our public officials to act now and prepare.
Contact tracing was already part of the strategy when the virus first hit the U.S. two months ago, but it was abandoned quickly when the poorly-financed local health departments became overwhelmed almost immediately. We must avoid the mistakes that happened during the first wave of infections – to protect our lives, our livelihoods and our way of life. So we will keep the petition open. If you haven’t signed it, please do! Thank you!
– Jan & Natsuko