US President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday attempted to dismiss coronavirus contact tracing by noting that other things that can cause death are not traced. He chose obesity, heart disease and cancer, none of which are contagious, to make his point.
Giuliani, whose Twitter account was temporarily locked last month for sharing misinformation about potential treatments for COVID-19, riffed on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program about the tri-state area contract-tracing program announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and in collaboration with former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Giuliani’s successor in that role.
The process, while labor-intensive, has been used as a core disease control method for decades, proving effective in past infectious disease outbreaks and in other countries during the current pandemic. It identifies people who have tested positive for the virus and tracks anyone they may have had contact with while infectious.
“That’s totally ridiculous. Then we should trace everybody for cancer,” Giuliani said of the plan. “And heart disease and obesity. I mean, a lot of things kill you more than COVID-19. So we should be traced for all those things.”
These conditions, of course, are not infectious and have no need for contact tracing.
He also bashed Democratic governors for “trying to keep us closed in” and suggested that they “try a few experiments” with restarting businesses. (Governors from both parties have pushed back on reviving the economies in a number of states prematurely, citing inadequate testing capabilities and not meeting the criteria laid out by the federal government to safely begin to reopen).
“Let’s get back to work again, because we’re ready to get back to work again,” Giuliani declared.
Ingraham, who did not correct Giuliani for suggesting obesity, heart disease and cancer were infectious, agreed that we “can’t live in a bubble.”