Here’s one problem our contact tracing system(s), such as they are, have (boldface mine):
It’s likely that the first time many Americans heard the term contact tracing was this spring. Before that, some public-health departments were little more than two people and an old computer, having lost a quarter of their workforce through aggressive budget cuts since 2009. Because the U.S. has had such an enfeebled public-health system for so long, the public doesn’t trust public-health workers at a time when it’s crucial that they do so. When called by a department they’ve never heard of and asked for a list of all their friends, Americans could be forgiven for thinking, Who the hell are these people?
I’m not sure it’s that bad, but one problem public health departments certainly did face was a lack of resources, to the point where it was very difficult to expand when faced with a crisis. Most didn’t have any surplus capacity, having been cut down to the bone, nor did they have the resources to develop tools they might need, since they couldn’t maintain what they currently had.
As dedicated as they are, they can’t MacGyver their way out of this. The time to prepare–and that means have some slack capacity–is before the crisis starts, and there was no way to do that, given the available resources.