Covid-19 didn’t spread at the places they said it did

public data analyzed by ABC News appears to tell a different story. The data from states across the country suggests specific outbreak settings (including bars, gyms, restaurants, nail salons, barbershops and stores — for the full list, see graphic below in story) only accounted for a small percentage, if any, of new outbreaks after the pandemic’s iniital wave in 2020.

Source: Most states have reopened. Here’s where new COVID outbreaks happened.

The explanation is that contact tracing didn’t trace everyone or was not very good.

Experts who spoke with ABC News said contact tracing efforts around the country were very limited, representing only a fraction of reported new cases, as was testing at specific businesses and locations.


“At the beginning of the epidemic of February and March last year, several people would be called in and you had really good contact tracing, but during really big outbreaks, states just don’t have the resources to track every case,” he told ABC News.


In fact, Andrews and other experts noted that the public health data on outbreaks represents a fraction of the cases throughout the states because of tracking challenges.

I’ll go further: Much if not most contact tracing was useless. When Florida published their serology-based estimates of how many people had antibodies, it implied that they had successfully contact traced just 10% of those who had Covid-19.

Outside of easier locations for contact tracing – such as a workplace or a home – contact tracing accomplished little. When protests occurred with thousands of people, sometimes arm-in-arm and in direct contact, our public health agency said they suspended the contact tracing for anyone in outdoor events. When the trail goes dark, they cut off the trace. This happened A LOT.