I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I think the coronavirus is real and is affecting people every day. And I have, unfortunately, lost people I know to the most severe cases of this disease and know many, many people who have had varying degrees of the virus.

But at the same time, most of the people I know value their privacy and freedom too much to give up any more information to the government than they absolutely have to. That’s why, according to an article on New Jersey 101.5, 70% of New Jerseyans want nothing to to do with contact tracing.

Contact tracers are people who try to follow the coronavirus transmission chain in order to determine who Patient Zero is and to warn people who have been exposed to the virus. The problem is that just having been exposed to the virus in a restaurant or in a public place is probably not going to make you the slightest bit sick and even less likely to make you seriously ill. So the question is, how much of my privacy am I willing to give up for a very small potential benefit? And for most people that answer is “none.”

The article goes on to quote Gov. Murphy as saying, “There’s no witch hunt, and our contract tracers are not out to snitch on anyone. Their sole focus is on making sure you know you have been exposed so you can take the steps to protect yourselves or your loved ones or your community, period.”

But most don’t believe it can work that way. Or even if they do, don’t believe it’s a serious enough threat to bother.

I think that that is why people have a difficult time answering the questions that contact tracers ask. Or giving out their contact info in the first place.

When my husband had COVID, before the practice of contact tracing was firmly established, the state department of health contacted him to ask him a bunch of questions. Clearly, his positive COVID-19 test results had been reported to them along with his contact information. They asked for information that he believed would provide little to no benefit in arresting the virus. So he chose not to answer.

I think that most people believe, as I do, that such a small amount of people are going to become seriously ill—and an even smaller amount die—from COVID-19, that they just don’t feel a real social responsibility to give anything but their name, rank and serial number to a contact tracer.

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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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