NPR

Local Public Health Workers Report Hostile Threats And Fears About Contact Tracing

Online misinformation is fueling a backlash in some places against coronavirus containment strategies such as contact tracing and isolation. Some health officials have even received violent threats.

During her 17 years running Okanogan County's small public health department in eastern Washington, Lauri Jones rarely encountered any controversy.

"Usually, we kind of sit here under the radar," says Jones, whose department before the pandemic was mostly known for mundane duties such as recording births, issuing permits for septic tanks, and investigating reports of food poisoning.

But that all changed when the coronavirus pandemic began in March.

Jones and her staff are now highly visible members of the government in Okanogan County, as they help steer the local response to the outbreak. She's had to tell local businesses to stay closed, track down residents who could be infected and tell people to isolate or quarantine themselves.

And she has noticed wariness, suspicion, and even outrage creep into the conversations about her work, among some members of her community.

"For the first time, people are hearing terms like 'contact tracing' and 'case investigation,' and those frighten them for some reason," Jones says.

Citiți o mostră, înregistrați-vă pentru a citi în continuare.

Mai multe de la NPR

NPR8 min cititeSociety
When It Comes To Reopening Schools, 'The Devil's In The Details,' Educators Say
Teachers, parents and district leaders say the back-to-school season has fogged over with confusion. Will schools reopen? And if so, how?
NPR5 min cititePolitics
The Economy May Be Losing Its Impact On Presidential Elections
Conventional wisdom (and some logic) says that a bad economy will hurt President Trump in November. But growing polarization may be severing the tie between economic health and voters' choices.
NPR1 min citite
NYC Begins Painting Black Lives Matter Mural In Front Of Trump Tower
President Trump derided the mural plan last week, saying it would be "denigrating this luxury Avenue" and antagonize the city's police as "a symbol of hate."