This state’s coronavirus mitigation tactics ‘likely’ dropped cases, serious outcomes

Despite some shortcomings on contact tracing, Delaware’s arsenal of tactics to stop coronavirus spread likely led to a drop in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, the state’s mitigation efforts including a mask mandate, stay-at-home order and case investigations weeks before a surge in April translated to a remarkable 100% drop in mortality, among other reductions, according to the federal health agency.

“Incidence declined by 82%, hospitalization by 88%, and mortality by 100% from late April to June 2020 as the mask mandate and contact tracing were added to case investigations and the stay-at-home order,” per the report.

Mitigation measures, including a mask mandate, in Delaware likely caused a drop in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by June, per the CDC. (iStock)

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However, a projection of nationwide deaths suggests other states are having difficulty with mitigation tactics. On Thursday, the CDC projected the U.S. could see up to 266,000 coronavirus-related deaths by Nov. 28. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has recorded at least 235,199 deaths as of Friday afternoon.

The CDC said an effective strategy to tamp down the virus involves a combination of measures: “No single mitigation strategy is likely to be effective alone.”

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Despite the positive findings, the agency did report that 83% of 6,527 coronavirus-positive patients interviewed for contact tracing purposes “either refused to disclose contacts or could not recall contacts.” Aside from the urgent need for cooperation among the public, the agency also noted that tracers took eight days, on average, to interview patients. 

Speedy contact tracing could further prevent virus spread, the agency advised. This is not the first time the agency has reported faulty contact tracing. For example, in late September the CDC released a report on two counties in North Carolina that showed that nearly half of coronavirus patients in a given county did not report contacts, and when contacts were given, a quarter of them were unreachable.

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