(CNN) – Contact tracing is an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but a new study suggests two things are standing in the way of it being most effective.
It’s considered the gold standard for fighting the pandemic: contact tracing requires testing of all people who may be infected, isolating those who are, and then tracking down others who may have been exposed to a person infected, testing and isolating them as well.
But a new study suggests quick COVID-19 testing and quick reporting of those results are a crucial key to making this tool work. The researchers say app-based contact tracing methods were more effective.
“Only through that contact tracing can you actually help beat the virus back.”
CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is familiar with app-based contact tracing after having to be tested for COVID-19 while working in Germany.
“If my test would have been positive I would have had to put it on this thing we have this coronavirus app here in Germany. This one is actually telling me right now that I haven’t come into contact with anyone who is high risk but I would have had to put that into the app to make sure other people in contact with me know whether or not my test would have been positive.”
The researchers say app technology could keep the virus from rapidly spreading even with a delay in testing of not more than two days. As long as 80% of people exposed are tested and had their contacts traced.