I realize that there are people who really believe that they will drop in the street if they contract COVID-19. And I’m not judging them. It’s simply that I am not one of them so I’m a little tired of all the hype meant to stoke fear in all of us. The government/media have come up with all manner of ways of keeping COVID-19 in our consciousness 24 hours a day.

They’ve properly frightened the whole world with the constant barrage of media reports, public service announcements, signs in public places and the most ubiquitous tool of all: the questionably useful face mask. But here’s another way to keep us all connected to this long national nightmare forever: contact tracing.

Contact tracing has long been touted as a way of keeping the numbers down. But it can never work because many people aren’t honest and/or are unwilling to give out their personal information, privacy being a right that Americans take very seriously. But for those who don’t mind being in “the system," there’s an app that New Jersey offers where you can input your name, rank and serial number (or at least something like that) so that you can find out through the miracle of modern technology if you have been exposed to COVID-19. It’s called the COVID-19 information hub and you can access it here.

All you need to do is put in a bunch of information and it can let you know if you have been exposed, while at the same time “protecting your privacy." It sounds a little creepy to me and is actually the REAL “big brother watching” that we have all been warned about. I suppose the scenario would go something like this: You get an alert on your phone one day that says “Hello. Your number shows up as having been a patron of Fred’s Fish Market last week. We want you to know that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19."

Yeah, no thank you. I know that there will be New Jerseyans who will sign onto this wholeheartedly, thinking that somehow it’s going to keep them “safe.” And I do have sympathy for those who live in fear of the virus. So if it gives these people some sense of security or quells their anxiety, I suppose it’s a good idea for them. I, however, am opting out.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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