We all know Track and trace is s**t. It’s a useless system because a few people are following it. The app is far from “world-beating”. The government has destroyed the trust by going to Barnard Castle and all the other shambles and the public… We are exhausted and confused.
When I returned from Spain (a much-needed trip after one year and a half not seeing my family), someone on the same plane tested positive, so I got pinged. But because I am double-vax, I managed to go out and about for 4 days. I was cautious, testing every day and wearing my mask everywhere. I acted as if I could be infectious. In those four days, someone at work got pinged by the app. We were all sceptical. He swore that it was impossible to have contracted COVID, so we thought maybe it was a neighbour or something. I went to self-isolation, and a few days after, he tested positive. Shit, now I have to prolong my self-isolation.
The good thing about this situation is that one can read and watch Netflix, so I had many hours to think. I decided to re-think the system.
Identifying the problems
Before finding the solution, we have to understand the problem. I simplified the problem into 3 aspects: Communications, Feasibility and Responsibility.
Here is the clarity of the message. Do people understand why? Do people understand what? The message throughout the pandemic has been confusing, and the government has not helped by not being tough on Cumming’s trip or Hancock’s corruption and affairs. The rules have changed so many times that people have stopped paying attention and aren’t willing to make an effort to understand anymore.
Not everybody has the means to self-isolate for 10 days. Neither nor everybody will want to do it. Not everybody has the app (in fact, many have deleted it to avoid being pinged). I can’t even download it because my phone is too old.
The government is asking people to be responsible. Responsibility, like common sense and opinions, is subjective. What I think it’s a responsible act is very different from what you think is responsible. I would never jump to a pool from a balcony, but some people do. And some people think they are exempt from self-isolation because they can point where or when they could have been infected.
But what is the solution?
I am sure there is no perfect solution unless we bridge human rights. However, no doubt, this COVID thing will be with us forever. At least for the next few years, we should find a sustainable way to minimise infections. We need better communication and a feasible way to either self-isolate or take a more responsible non-self-isolation approach.
One of the problems I see in the Track and Trace brand is that the government is saying, we are controlling you. It needs to be branded with positive feelings. Something that tells you: “your efforts are worth it”. My suggestion would be:
The system should contemplate all the options, app or no app. The app itself should give you options because not everybody can self-quarantine. I would give an incentive to test every day for 10 days or give an incentive to stay home. A free subscription to Netflix, Audible or kindle? Free course?
I also find that if we understood where the contact happened could increase the responsive feel. For example, if you think the ping comes from Tesco, it is not the same feeling as if it comes from the office where you spent the whole day without a mask.
I know this exercise is far from perfect and possibly oversimplified. This exercise was just some thoughts on why government stuff has always to be so bureaucratic and institutional? How can you engage with humans? Why aren’t the systems linked to each other?
So many questions more I have!
To be continued?