By late April 2020, public discourse in the United States had shifted toward the idea of using more targeted case-based mitigation tactics (eg, contact tracing) to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission while allowing for the safe "reopening" of society, in an effort to reduce the social, economic, and political ramifications associated with stricter approaches. Expanded tracing-testing efforts were touted as a key solution that would allow for a precision approach, thus preventing economies from having to shut down again. However, it is now clear that many regions of the United States were unable to mount robust enough testing-tracing programs to prevent major resurgences of disease. This viewpoint offers a discussion of why testing-tracing efforts failed to sufficiently mitigate COVID-19 across much of the nation, with the hope that such deliberation will help the US public health community better plan for the future.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; contact tracing; disease mitigation; pandemic.
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