Massachusetts has added more than 1,000 workers and sent some into communities with large numbers of cases. California last week began training the first recruits of a planned 20,000-person contact tracing team. And New York plans to add as many as 17,000 contact tracers through a partnership with former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Resolve to Save Lives, headed by former CDC Director Tom Frieden.
A senior government source told the Mail on Sunday last week that Mr Hancock was on “borrowed time” and had “fallen out with the most powerful figures in the Government”, including Mr Johnson.
But Mr Gove, who revealed that “just over 17,000 of the contact tracers” had now been recruited – told Sky News’ Niall Paterson: “Here I have to praise the work of the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.”
State governments are building armies of contact tracers in a new phase of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, returning to a fundamental practice in public health that can at once wrestle the virus under control and put hundreds of thousands of newly jobless people back to work.
California is already conducting contact tracing in 22 counties, and it eventually plans to field a force of 10,000 state employees, who will be given basic training by University of California health experts.
But the directorate is said to believe that the trend is not due to a sudden increase in mental illness, but rather to a decrease in motivation to serve in the army, leading youth to fake mental illness to avoid military service.