Tens of thousands of Americans apply for contact tracing jobs: 5 things to know

As the U.S. aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19, tens of thousands of Americans have applied for contact tracer roles to help track cases and exposure,  according to The New York Times.

Five things to know about these workers:

1. At least 11,142 contact tracers are working now in the U.S., according to a survey conducted in late April by NPR. The number may be higher since figures for all states in the late April survey have not been updated.

2. Estimates of how many contact tracers are needed nationwide range from 100,000 to 300,000, according to NPR and the Times.

3. States and cities have already made efforts to boost contact tracing staffing. California announced a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco for contact tracing training and aims to ultimately have 20,000 contact tracers, according to NPR. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced May 8 a city test and trace corps that will comprise 2,500 public health experts who will "lead the way in creating testing and tracing." Mr. de Blasio expects the test and trace corps to eventually consist of between 5,000 and 10,000 people.

4. Contact tracers cold-call people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, the Times reported. They work full time or part time.

5. Pay for contact tracers, who are largely recruited by state and local governments, is often $17 to $25 per hour, according to the Times. Some contact tracers also receive benefits.

Read the full Times report here. Read the full NPR report here

 

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