Right-wing conspiracy theories are thwarting efforts to track the spread of COVID-19
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Public health officials for months have been trying to adopt the test-and-trace program that's been used successfully in other countries to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, as Politico reports, the spread of right-wing conspiracy theories had made implementing this program significantly harder because many people believe that it's a sinister government plot to take away their constitutional liberties.

"We’ve had people worry that we’re the FBI or other government agencies," Kirstin Short, the bureau chief of epidemiology at the Houston Health Department, tells Politico. "It’s a challenge we’ve been fighting for a number of years since the change in the federal administration."

It hasn't helped that many top Republicans have come out against contact tracing programs, as President Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani attacked them as "ridiculous" earlier this year. Additionally, Politico documents, "several state and local GOP officials and candidates have boasted about refusing to provide information after testing positive and called the practice 'communist.'"

Pradheep Shanker, a conservative doctor and policy analyst, tells Politico that he's done his best to dispel misinformation about contact tracing, but he still faced resistance to it when he pushed conservatives to accept it in Ohio and Michigan.

"Their instinct is to oppose it," he says.