Simple Solutions Are Often The Best

The Problem

As of May 11, 2020, over 80,000 Americans have died of coronavirus and at least 1.3 million Americans have contacted coronavirus according to John Hopkins University.

Having worked in public health for 35 years, I know a thing or two about contract tracing and a thing or two about problem solving.

For 35 years, I observed a very limited number of health department investigators in action tracking down suspected partners with sexually transmitted diseases and suspected contacts of  carriers of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.

Of course, these diseases have a limited number of victims in the states.

Therefore, they are and have been a manageable problem  for health department investigators to handle through contact tracing.

However, our COVID-19 numbers are totally unmanageable under our present-day system.

Variables to See Viability Solution

Cell phones are ubiquitous. The number of Americans owning cell phones—96% according to the Pew Research Center as of 2/7/2019.

The ability of the government to give cell phones to the other 4%.—Very possible.

The number of business establishments with the ability to record their customer‘s phone numbers in a daily electronic or hand-written log.—-Very possible.

The Plan

All businesses desiring to reopen shall follow mask and social distancing guidelines, as well as creating phone logs of all of their customers or persons who entered their premises.

If a staff member or customer is reported as having contacted the coronavirus. The business establishment shall contact all customers that were in the store that day that they must self quarantine for two weeks. These reports will be sent via text to local government officials to determine any penalties to be levied on violators of self quarantine.

Of course, the businesses will have to be totally disinfected prior to reopening.

Why this Solution

  1. It’s simple.
  2. It’s a partnership between the business, its customers and the government.
  3. The onus of this contact-tracing burden falls squarely on the shoulders and onto the laps of the entrepreneurs. They have the greatest incentive to see it succeed.
  4. Our government has no stomach or ability to come the rescue at this time.
  5. This plan is not as intrusive (see proposed Israeli contact-tracing cellular plan which was shot down by Israeli courts.) as having the government monitor all of our activities via our cell phones and the government calling you up with the bad news.
  6. This process may seem burdensome, but with Coronavirus cases, hopefully going down it seems tenantable.
  7. This plan may be used to limit liability of these enterprises.

We live in a new world that challenges us to come up with new creative solutions to age-old problems.

Thank G-d our cell-phone society provides us with an opportunity to make technology a savior in our age of COVID-19.

Think about it.

About the Author
South Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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