“Since the very start of the pandemic Germany has had armies of tracers following the contacts of every confirmed coronavirus case, keeping the number of deaths there relatively low. Germany has had notable success in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. One reason for that is contact tracers – armies of tracers.
“There are around 400 call centers … around Germany, each of them filled with dozens of operators. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has prioritized tracking infection chains as the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and she aims for the country to have one tracer per 4,000 people. That’s 20,000 tracers for Germany’s population of 83 million. Dr. Uwe Peters, director of the Pankow District Health Authority, says when the pandemic hit, he scrambled to hire more tracers, quickly doubling his office’s staff.
Tracer Claudia Krummacher says if anyone on the list had contact with the infected person for more than 15 minutes within 6 feet in distance, they’re put under a state-mandated quarantine, monitored and, if necessary, tested. And if they’re positive, the whole tracing cycle begins again. Krummacher helps manage the tracing call center in Pankow. She says at the height of the pandemic, it seemed like the work would never end. Her office would occasionally have a case of an infected school teacher, which meant they had to talk to the parents of hundreds of students, asking the same questions over and over.