Contact tracing is the answer, not lockdowns

Photo credit: Stephanie Lacarte

With the rise in COVID-19 cases surging past the initial number that put us in lockdown in the very beginning, there is a growing concern among the public that the government should be sharing more information regarding COVID-19 preparedness and contact tracing.

Some health experts are warning we are on the brink of losing the gains made to contain the virus that was achieved through lots of personal and economic sacrifices.


Mayor Doug Ford told the Star in September that the second wave is, “a scenario that we’ve been preparing for all summer long.”

“With the number of cases on the rise, it’s clear that the next wave will come at us harder than the last one. It will be more challenging than before because the flu season is starting soon and people are heading indoors again,” Ford said during an afternoon news conference held at Queen’s Park, Monday, Sept. 14.

Six months into this pandemic and the race for a vaccine is getting longer than was expected and with no assurances of a structural plan presented by our municipal, regional or Canadian government.

Given the historical context of the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic and the 2009 H1NI epidemic, it is concerning the three levels of government are not more prepared with a plan by now involving contract tracing because that is the information that will help lead us to the answer of managing the pandemic.


The municipal, provincial and federal government has continued to provide the public with information on active case numbers, and safety precautions like isolating, social distancing, and sanitary protocols, most of which is available on Canada.ca.

But with Ontario having almost 58-thousand total cases as of early October, the political arguments about whether or not to keep the community open should already be clear. They are not.

Health experts say the Peel and Toronto Region are failing to track where people are contracting the virus.

An earlier plan to develop efficient systems for data-sharing amongst federal, provincial, and municipal governments could have saved lives.

Municipal governments should have made it protocol for all businesses to track names and contact information for customers. This would have helped municipal governments pinpoint hotspot areas in their communities.

Allowing communities to remain open when hundreds of cases are becoming active daily is not what is going to keep this virus under control. Neither is encouraging people to eat out at restaurants and dine in at bars or discouraging small personal gatherings at homes.

Having the specifics provided by our municipal governments regarding contract tracing would have sooner helped the public be able to locate where the virus is being contracted and where specific hot spots are located in their communities.

This might have given the economy more hope.

Now we are seeing numbers higher than at the beginning of the pandemic, which leads to the conclusion that the government should have been more prepared months ago with a plan involving contract tracing to manage the pandemic.

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