It was late morning on Tuesday, May 26, when James Daggett heard a knock on the door of his apartment home in Cedar Park, Texas, about 20 miles north of Austin.
When he answered it, two uniformed officers wearing badges and facemasks stood and stared.
One officer appeared to be a sheriff’s deputy and had a gun holstered on his side. The other wore a white uniform.
They said they had an important document to deliver that required his immediate attention.
The man in the white uniform handed him an envelope containing a letter from the Williamson County health department, demanding that he read it closely and follow its orders. What followed was a barrage of questions about his health, how many others he had living in his home, where he may have traveled recently.
As Daggett, 35, tore open the envelope and started to read the letter, the two men vanished from his doorstep as quickly as they had arrived.
These were just two of the foot soldiers in an army of 4,000 “contact tracers” hired by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, according to the Houston Chronicle, who signed a $295 million contract with Albany, New York-based MTX Group Inc., which partners with Google and SalesForce to data-mine the public and store their data forever in the Google Cloud.
The job of the contact-tracer investigators is to build a web, at the center of which are people like James Daggett, who just happened to test positive for COVID-19.
They reconstruct the spokes that come off the central hub – James’s family members, friends, the guy he may have sat next to on an airplane or at the local diner last night, or in the adjoining cubicle at work.
All it takes is to spend 10 or 15 minutes sitting or standing within six feet of another human being who was infected. These are all potentially infected persons who must be tracked down and sent into quarantine, then interviewed to get a list of their contacts.
In the end, one case such as that of James Daggett can ensnare hundreds of healthy, innocent Americans, and send them into lockdown, simply because they happened to breathe the same air that James breathed, or stood next to someone who did.
Contact tracers are trained to make sure all of these people, healthy or not, get thrown into complete isolation, away from their children, spouses and other family members while they get monitored for at least 14 days. Their release date is at the discretion of the public health authorities. The potential for abuse is great and could lead to continued rolling lockdowns throughout the country for months or even years. It is that very potential that has government watchdogs on alert.
As of this writing, every state has plans to exponentially expand their contact-tracing workforces.
The letter handed to Daggett by the two officers was very clear and written in a threatening tone.
“Pursuant to Section 81.083 of the Texas Health and Safety Code,” the director of the county health authority ordered him to stay locked in his house and isolated from all humans until further notice, stating that the director had obtained information leading her to have “reasonable cause to believe” he had contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus.