Germany credits human contact tracing for low death rate


Local health authorities in Germany have relied on human contact tracers since the country confirmed its first COVID-19 cases early in 2020, and say that doing so has helped the country keep its death rate comparatively low even with a less restrictive lockdown than many other countries. Germany aims to have 16,000 contract tracers overall, or five for every 25,000 people. Tracing involves phoning each newly-diagnosed patient and asking their movements; those who have been in close contact for 15 minutes or more are put under state-mandated quarantine while those in contact for less than 15 minutes are advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The health department follows up with daily phone calls to check on the patient's symptoms. While the system is doubtless missing some asymptomatic carriers, and in about 65% of cases tracers cannot determine how a person was infected. Germany is also developing a contact tracing app, but expects adoption to be far lower than the 60% estimated to be necessary to be effective.
Writer: Loveday Morris and Luisa Beck
Publication: Washington Post