Testimony on NYC's COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing Program
Virtually all New Yorkers share the fervent desire to safely re-open the City, and there is broad consensus that contact tracing is an essential component to doing so. Unfortunately, a necessary ingredient for effective contact tracing – community trust – is still missing.
As our nation stands in the midst of a long-overdue reckoning on racism, police brutality, and white supremacy, any distrust New Yorkers, particularly Black and brown New Yorkers, might have of contact tracers, who may, like law enforcement and many in the health care system, carpetbag in from outside of the community, feels understandable.
Contact tracing is too important to get wrong. Ensuring that the T2 program is culturally and linguistically competent and that the contact tracing information collected to mitigate a public health emergency is shielded from law enforcement and ICE are not just privacy and civil rights necessities; they are public health imperatives.