NYC's Coronavirus Contact Tracers Ordered Not to Ask People if They Attended Protests
Move could cause inability to determine risk
Workers at the New York contact tracing program have been ordered not to ask those who've tested positive for the coronavirus if they had attended demonstrations in the city.
The move comes as the city's Mayor Bill de Blasio said the George Floyd protests could cause another spike in COVID-19.
The workers for the city’s contact tracing program will solely rely on people to give them information voluntarily.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe while respecting individual privacy,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen.
“Over the course of their interview with a tracer, a person may be asked if they were in a large crowd or event in recent weeks, with full confidence that any information they share will be protected under the fullest extent of the law.”
Despite there being no directive barring tracers from asking about protest participation, Cohen said that people would not be questioned.
New York has seen widespread protests which turned into violent looting in the last few weeks.
City Council members and health professionals have argued people should be asked if they have been to protests.
“I understand that they . . . may be concerned that asking someone if they’ve gone to a protest could make people distrustful,” said Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn).
“I think it should come up in the course of conversation.”
Cofounder and clinical director of the city’s Cure Urgent Care centers, Dr. Jake Deutsch said:
“It would make logical sense that would be something to include if you were doing a survey to determine risk."
“It is certainly something everyone should be thinking about.”
De Blasio: My Daughter is 'Right' to Accuse Me of ‘White Privilege’— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) June 10, 2020
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Earlier this month, de Blasio also faced backlash after refusing to deploy the U.S. National Guard to tackle looters who ravaged shops and stores.
The news comes as the mayor's wife argued that NYC would become a "utopia" if it abolished its police department, law courts, and presumably prisons.
NYC’s First Lady Chirlane McCray recently described a world in which cops didn't enforce the city's laws as “a nirvana” amid calls to defund police departments across America.