Beware the contact tracing.
The government wants it believed contact tracing is nothing but a simple friendly means of making sure Americans are protected from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, both now and in the future, via testing, monitoring and providing necessary medical equipment and, in some cases, with supporting with quarantining.
But there’s nothing friendly about it. Contact tracing is a frightening tracking and surveillance program that gives government near-total control of citizens. It’s billed as voluntary. But those who decline to participate are subject to legal enforcement at the hands of government.
And on that last: That’s not opinion.
That’s the government’s own language.
Here’s the run-down of what’s coming on the heels of the coronavirus crisis — the “new normal,” as the health bureaucrats and left-leaning control freaks like to call it.
First, the definition: Contact tracing is, at the root, a means of tracing where you’ve been and whom you’ve come into contact with, so as to give health professionals the knowledge they need to contain a disease’s spread. Sounds sensible, yes?
Even by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own definition, contact tracing sounds sensible. The CDC calls it a “core disease control measure employed by state and local health officials,” one that’s been employed, in fact, “for decades,” and one that’s decidedly a “key strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
OK to that. But there’s a decided difference between self-reporting and with going where the government wants to go on this.
This is where it veers off America’s course straight into communist country.
On the CDC’s “Coronavirus Disease” webpage, “Principles of Contact Tracing,” is a section titled, “Social services and housing will be needed for contacts unable to separate themselves from others in their current living situation.” The section opens with this: “Separating contacts from people who are not exposed is critical to the success of any contact tracing effort and requires social supports for individual compliance and medical monitoring.” It goes on with this: “If possible, contacts should be asked to voluntarily stay home, monitor themselves and maintain social distancing from others.” And it finishes with this: “However, health departments have the authority to issue legal orders of quarantine, should the situation warrant that measure.”
Disobey the government’s recommendation to quarantine — and the government has the authority to force a quarantine. How? By “legal orders.” How will those legal orders be enforced?
The CDC, in that same section, gives clues: “Support services for consideration include but may not be limited to housing. …” Here comes the government, with some handy-dandy housing for quarantined individuals — just the kind of housing the could come in handy for those who either don’t have the means to self-quarantine, or who’ve been handed a “legal order” to quarantine.
Oh, pishaw. This is America, land of the free — land of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA Act, with all its patient privacies and protections, right?
That’s what H.R. 6666, the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching And Contacting Everyone Act, or TRACE Act, from Rep. Bobby Rush, Illinois Democrat, would have believed, anyway.
H.R. 6666 calls for $100 billion to be spent in fiscal 2020 to “award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, to trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts through mobile health units” and “as necessary, testing individuals and providing individuals with services related to testing and quarantine at their residences,” according to the text of the bill. And it makes clear that nothing in the bill would violate Americans’ health privacies and rights to choose — or, rights to refuse.
Government at your door?
Government at your door to monitor COVID-19 patients?
Government at your door to quarantine citizens?
The “eligible entities” who get the $100 billion to do all this testing include medical professionals, nonprofit officials, and health people tied to public schools, high schools, colleges and other places of higher learning. Oh, and “any other” source deemed acceptable by the secretary of Health and Human Services, working with the director of the CDC.
Count on this: Your children, tested, at school, for COVID-19 — or, for any other transmissible disease to come in the future that’s deemed a danger by federal, state and local health wonks.
Back to the CDC COVID-19 contact tracing page.
“Communities need a large number of trained contact tracers,” CDC reports. “The time to start building the trained workforce is now.”
Johns Hopkins just released a training course for would-be contact tracers — and given all the folk put out of work by government stay-at-home orders, no doubt, there are a lot these would-be’s out there.
And as Eagle Forum reported, some of the language put forth in this training is concerning at best, outright frightening at worst. In a section about dealing with the issue of autonomy and the right of the patient-slash-citizen to choose his or her own health care, the Johns Hopkins training video goes like this: “[E]ach person can make their own decisions. This is true unless the decisions they make or the things they do can harm someone else. And we all know that this is true. And in the case of contact tracing, it means that people can make their own decisions. But if they’re not isolating themselves or not quarantining themselves, that could harm someone else. It does put other people at risk so they do have some limits on their autonomy, or their ability to make their own decisions within the context of contact tracing.”
In other words: Participate — or be deemed a hazard to health. And those who are deemed hazards to health are obviously incapable of making their own decisions. So the government must make those decisions for them.
See the threats to individual freedoms here?
What a tangled web that’s woven. The CDC puts out advisements and guidance. The Democrats in Congress put out the funding mechanism to carry out these same advisements and guidance. Johns Hopkins puts out the training guidelines for those hired to carry out those federal advisements and guidance. The states and localities carry the water from there.
By the time the advisements and guidance come knocking on citizens’ doors — they’re in the form of orders and mandates. Don’t we already have that example in modern-day COVID-19 times, where the federal government, meaning the White House, recommends one thing, but states, meaning the governors, then take it to executive order extremes and make those recommendations into mandates?
Yes, yes we do.
But the CDC, Rush and his bill cosponsors, Johns Hopkins, and all the contact tracing partners at the state and local levels of government get to maintain plausible deniability on force. They all get to pretend that participation in contact tracing is voluntary — and that the only citizens who would refuse to volunteer are the citizens who are unable to make their own decisions due to some sort of psychological issue that could cause harm to self or others.
It’s an utterly frightening government takeover of Americans’ freedoms, of citizens’ individual rights.
Now add technology to contact tracing — and feel the real chill.
Again, from the CDC’s own site: “Case investigation, contact tracing and contact follow-up and monitoring will need to be linked with timely testing, clinical services and agile data management systems to facilitate real-time electronic transmission of laboratory and case data for public health action.”
Real-time data collection.
Real-time public health action.
How’s the government going to do that?
The CDC is pushing for “proximity tracking” — “tools that use Bluetooth or GPS to track an individual’s exposure to cases.”
That’s bureau-speak for government surveillance and tracking of individuals, in real-time. In smartphone time. In smartphone app times. What a surveillance society that’ll be. It’ll give government the power to see where the paths of COVID-19 patients cross with the paths of those who don’t have COVID-19; to alert those who don’t have COVID-19 of the paths they just crossed with those who have COVID-19; to go to the homes of those who were exposed to COVID-19 and test them, and monitor them, and quarantine them. And if need be, to get a legal order to quarantine them.
Welcome to the “new normal” the left wants for America — a country of communist collectivism and total government control. Resist now, or forever our freedoms will vanish.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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