Hopkins' Dr. Crystal Watson: How Contact Tracing Can Stop COVID-19 | WYPR

Hopkins' Dr. Crystal Watson: How Contact Tracing Can Stop COVID-19

May 27, 2020

Dr. Crystal Watson, with the Hopkins Center for Health Security
Credit Hopkins Center for Health Security

Even as the death count from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States continues to climb, many local and state leaders across the nation, including here in Maryland, have pointed to gradual reductions in coronavirus hospitalizations to justify their decisions to begin lifting two-month-old quarantine restrictions. Over the Memorial Day weekend, some areas of the country saw a surge in mass public gatherings at reopened shops, on beaches and in public parks, where six feet of separation and masks seemed to be the exception, not the rule. 

But public health experts warn that the coronavirus threat is far from over, and that in order to prevent a surge of new infections, a rigorous program of testing and contact tracing will be essential.  What is contact tracing?  And how do you launch a national and international contact tracing program? ...

Tom's guest today is someone who’s helping to do just that.  Dr. Crystal Watson is a Senior Associate at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.  Dr Watson recently co-authored a report with public health experts at the non-profit Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, entitled A National Plan to Enable Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Finding and Contact Tracing in the U.S.

Dr. Crystal Watson joins Tom on the phone from her Baltimore office.