Minority US contact tracers build trust in diverse cities

Virus Outbreak Rebuilding Trust
Virus Outbreak Rebuilding Trust
Virus Outbreak Rebuilding Trust
Posted at 3:07 PM, Nov 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-01 18:07:31-05

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Across the U.S., people from immigrant, refugee and Black communities are being hired to bridge the cultural divide in the United States and rebuild public confidence in America's public health system.

With President Donald Trump calling his top government scientists “idiots” and downplaying the threat of the virus, communities from San Diego to Nashville are hiring minorities to be contact tracers and restore trust in America’s public health care system one phone call at a time to help people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The approach is aimed at stopping the proliferation of misinformation among Black, Hispanic and immigrant populations ravaged by the virus.

Iraqi immigrant Ethar Kakoz, of El Cajon, is among the many ethnically and racially diverse contact tracers being hired to help immigrants, refugees, and minorities. El Cajon, itself, is a melting pot for many refugees from war-torn countries.

"For many of these families it’s really bringing them back to the past and the unsafety they felt during the war, the lack of food, not being able to go to stores," Kakoz told the AP. "I feel empathy. My responsibility is to just educate them and tell them about what is the right thing to do."