It’s Time for Officials to Accept Their Responsibilities in Combating
COVID-19 with the CURVE App
As the number of confirmed cases in Hidalgo County dramatically increases, a Hidalgo County Judge said the county plans to issue a curfew and limit the number of people that can gather together. The stated purpose is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. All while Texas, one of the most populous in the nation, set records for the number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day and hospital ICU wards at currently at 97 percent capacity.
Curfews without a plan solve nothing. There’s no strategy in place to track infections or ensure those that test positive self-quarantine. Masks are required in the county, yet many refuse to wear them and there’s no accountability for non-compliance. Governments have relied upon the honor system for people to do the right thing. That strategy has failed.
Masks are not a political statement. They’re not a violation of civil rights. They’re effective in preventing the spread of the virus to everyone. Wearing a mask demonstrates empathy, respect, and social responsibility. The federal government’s COVID-19 response team admitted that wearing a mask would have been effective in mitigating the virus in the early days. The information was withheld to ensure healthcare workers had access to them due to a severe shortage.
Hidalgo County occupies a unique position within the state, being on the border of Mexico with cities that have populations of over 3 million. Health departments and elected officials have abdicated their responsibilities to police departments. Law enforcement is already overwhelmed with calls and doesn’t have the time, funding, or personnel required to monitor people that are required to quarantine. They’re being kept busy responding to protests, increased reports of mental illness, and domestic violence.
What’s the point of testing if people won’t quarantine as ordered? There’s no plan for tracking and monitoring of positive cases to ensure compliance. The situation is further complicated with the onset of hurricane season and the upcoming winter flu season. COVID-19 affects everyone, not just the elderly. The virus is now sickening an increasing number of young adults, who also appear to be a primary vector for infection.
Parents are afraid to send their children to school and daycare centers. If those facilities have trouble controlling head lice, how much more difficult will it be to contain the spread of a virulent biologic with such a high transmission rate? Schools don’t have the funding to provide the type of disinfection protocols required on a regular basis.
Hidalgo County confirmed its first case on March 21, 2020. In early April, the county received $121 million dollars toward containing the virus and addressing COVID-19 related expenses. With the number of positive cases skyrocketing, no definitive plan in place to flatten the curve, no treatment or vaccine available, and no form of tracking or monitoring implemented, it’s a reasonable question to ask – Where did the money go?
One solution for mitigation is the Texas Guardians Curve App. Available to state and local officials, the app is part of an effective and affordable strategy to combat the pandemic and preserve overall public health. The app is downloaded to the phone of someone that has tested positive and requires quarantine. The CURVE app is discreet, non-invasive, and only activates when a check-in is requested by the app’s administrator.
The app activates the camera on the phone of the person that’s in quarantine to verify they’re maintaining quarantine. The CURVE app also provides convenient telemedicine capabilities for mental and physical health without the need to leave home. If an emergency occurs while someone is quarantined, CURVE provides a quicker means of reaching 911 services.
The pandemic is real. It doesn’t respect age, social status, or financial wealth. Medical officials don’t know if individuals can be infected a second time. They do know that many people are asymptomatic and a single individual has the potential to transmit the disease to 40 people or more, who in turn infect others.
The federal government has indicated that it’s up to states to take the necessary precautions they feel are right. State and local governments have chosen to do little, too late, all while taking federal money earmarked for COVID-19 mitigation. It’s time for state and local officials to accept their responsibilities to flatten the curve by tracking and monitoring those testing positive that require self-isolation. The CURVE app provides a non-invasive and affordable means to accomplish that and protect the health of everyone.