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Coronavirus contact tracers do not ask if New Yorkers attended the protests

Coronavirus contact tracers do not ask if New Yorkers attended the protests
Barbara C. Arroyo

Mayor de Blasio was concerned that the George Floyd protests would eventually increase the coronavirus pandemic as New Yorkers finally gain the upper hand – but City Hall certainly isn’t keen to learn.

Officials for the city’s contact tracing program do not ask anyone who tested positive for the bug to participate in the demonstrations, but instead rely on them to bring the information to themselves.

“We are doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe while respecting personal privacy,” said Avery Cohen, a spokesman for De Blasio.

“In their interview with a tracer, a person may ask whether they have been in a large group or event in recent weeks, with full confidence that any information they share is protected to the full extent of the law.”

While there is no specific directive without asking tracers to participate in the protest, Cohen separately told The City, which first reported the indirect policy, that people would not be asked.

So far, the city has not seen a significant spike in protests, with some claiming that there is a high proportion of participants and the use of masks in public areas.

But both City Council members and health professionals said the question still needs to be addressed.

Stephen Levine (D-Brooklyn) said: “I understand they are. Asking if anyone has gone to the protest can be disturbing,” said Stephen Levine (D-Brooklyn).

Dr Jake Deutsch, cofounder and clinical director of the city’s Cure Urgent Care Center, added, “It makes logical sense. If you do a survey to determine the risk, it’s something to include.

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“It’s definitely something that everyone should think about.”

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks

About the author

Barbara C. Arroyo

Barbara C. Arroyo

I'm a writer, editor and newsroom leader working at the intersection of tech and media, editorial and product, journalism and management. I am driven to transform our industry for the future, develop and mentor our people, build compassionate and innovative organizational cultures, and put readers and communities at the center of it all. I also have a love of storytelling and creative work, and refuse to pick one or the other.

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