How Contact Tracing Works

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As governments look to reopen social life in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some officials and tech industry leaders have proposed or implemented contact tracing to limit the disease’s spread. The Onion takes a step-by-step look at how contact tracing works.


STEP 1: Health officials infect someone with coronavirus so they have a place to start.

STEP 2: Government desperately searches for partnership with any tech company willing to possess access to everyone’s whereabouts.

STEP 3: Patient describes contacts to CDC sketch artist.

STEP 4: Officials confirm infected person’s pathetic number of social contacts accurate.


STEP 5: Velvet letter “C” stitched into every infected person’s cloak.

STEP 6: Contact tracing smartphone app asks you to invite a friend or spend five rainbow diamonds to find out if you’ve been exposed to coronavirus.


STEP 7: Asymptomatic person’s day fucking ruined.

STEP 8: Contacts not told identity of individual who exposed them to coronavirus even though it was obviously Rebecca.


STEP 9: Few more notions about right to privacy vanish forever.

STEP 10: Nation enters second quarantine because who are we kidding?