An unlikely example for testing and tracing

No doubt Clemens Tönnies regrets not having implemented proper health, safety and hygiene measures at his company. The German meat-processing company bearing his family name is these days the scene of a big outbreak of corona infections. On the site near Gütersloh, 1029 employees (status 20/06/20) have been infected; all 7000 employees and their household members have been put in quarantine. Tönnies is almost single-handedly responsible for the sharply rising R-factor in Germany (up to 1.79 on 20.06.20)1.

Mr Tönnies should have looked for guidance and advice in an unexpected direction: America’s adult film industry. Surprising, or perhaps not. After the H.I.V./AIDS outbreak in the nineties the industry had to adopt a policy of testing, treating and tracing, back then a bare necessity in order to survive. Today, it has led for example to the Performer Availability Screening Services, or PASS. PASS is a nationwide program which involves frequent testing for H.I.V. and online registration of the test status of actors.

COVID-19 poses tougher challenges, with so many more ways to become infected. The approach is still worth more than a look, several public health experts state. Moral objections should be put aside. As Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of H.I.V., points out: though the two viruses are entirely different, “following the adult film industry example of testing is smart.” The New York Times reports.

Lessons on coronavirus testing from the adult fim industry, The New York Times, 18 June 2020

1update 21/06/20: 1331 employees infected; R-value climbs to 2.88