In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, contact tracing is downright buzzy, and not always in a good way.
Contact tracing is the public health practice of informing people when they’ve been exposed to a contagious disease. As it has become more widely employed across the country, it has also become mired in modern political polarization and conspiracy theories.
Misinformation abounds, from tales that people who talk to contact tracers will be sent to nonexistent “FEMA camps” — a rumor so prevalent that health officials in Washington state had to put out a statement in May debunking it — to elaborate theories that the efforts are somehow part of a plot by global elites, such as the Clinton Foundation, Bill Gates or George Soros.
At the very least, such misinformation could hinder efforts to contain the virus, and at worst has sparked threats against tracers, say some observers, including