comscore Letters: Volunteering to help in crisis; Plastic bags safer; Restrictions show we can reduce traffic | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Volunteering to help in crisis; Plastic bags safer; Restrictions show we can reduce traffic

                                Light traffic was seen on Lunalilo Freeway on Tuesday.


    Light traffic was seen on Lunalilo Freeway on Tuesday.

Adopt safe practices at home with family

I am a pharmacist in Honolulu and encounter many potentially sick people.

However, I treat not only my customers, but everyone, including myself, as being potential carriers of coronavirus. Our home is our safe “nest,” but we must not let our guard down there. A common pattern has been for coronavirus to spread in family clusters. Each household member is an individual first, with individual ideas about how he or she should respond to this pandemic. Each person encounters different people, objects and situations as they go about their lives.

How can we protect our households? Maybe start by assembling everyone, including keiki, and have a frank coronavirus discussion. Should everyone wear masks at home? Maybe yes, especially if there are kupuna. Should everyone stay 6 feet apart? Difficult in cramped housing, but worth trying. Should each person have some dedicated household items? Might be a good idea.

This pandemic will pass. Each of us must do our part to help it pass quickly with minimal morbidity or mortality. We will get through this.

Anne Wheelock



Can we volunteer to help in this crisis?

I was impressed to read that China’s efforts to control the virus succeeded in part because of hundreds of thousands of volunteers (“Harsh steps needed to stop coronavirus, experts say,” Star-Advertiser, March 23). They acted as fever checkers, contact tracers, construction workers, food deliverers, and even babysitters for the children of first responders.

Obviously we have more restrictions involving red tape than in China, but I’m sure that those who are here already fighting the fight know where they could use volunteers effectively. And I’m also sure that we have many people who would gladly volunteer.

In Wuhan alone, they had 18,000 people tracking down individuals who had come in contact with the infected. Local health officials should find where and how they need more help and ask for it sooner, rather than later. How could volunteers help to “flatten the curve?”

Vince Costello



Plastic bags safer than reusable ones

Please suspend the plastic bag ban for the duration of this crisis. Reusable bags could be contaminated either at home or at a store. Food handlers and cashiers could be exposed and unknowingly pass it on to others. Plastic bags can be discarded at their final destination.

Save the environment or lives. It’s not a hard choice.

Joe Sotomura

Hawaii Kai


Releasing inmates will pose more risks

Do the state Office of the Public Defender, the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission or American Civil Liberties Union, think that releasing low-level criminals will protect the public (“Hawaii officials looking to reduce jail populations to limit COVID-19 spread,” Star-Advertiser, March 26)?

Even the ACLU said that the inmates are “often in poor health with limited ability to follow the hygiene and social distance guidance that the rest of us are trying to observe.” Now they want to unleash the inmates on the public.

First, what makes them think the inmates will do better once they get out?

Second, unemployment is at an all-time high and will only get worse the longer this virus continues. With criminal records, the former inmates are even less likely to get a job and will either end up homeless or go back to criminal activities to support themselves.

It’s time we wake up and say: Enough is enough. Stop treating criminals with kid gloves.

Gary Tanabe



Restrictions show we can reduce traffic

Are you enjoying our free-flowing traffic as a result of the “stay-at-home” restrictions?

We need to consider permanently reducing our horrendous traffic after this emergency is lifted. This could include:

>> Removing from the island the thousands of rental cars sitting at Aloha Stadium.

>> Encouraging tourists to use the bus, rail and taxi/shared-ride resources.

>> Permanently transitioning University of Hawaii to online instruction except for labs and student activities.

>> Operating public schools on half-day or alternate-day schedules augmented by online learning. School infrastructure cost savings can be used to purchase computers and internet connection for needy students.

>> Encouraging employers to allow their employees to work from home, with the state providing tax credits for this effort.

Much will change as a result of this pandemic. Let’s include reducing traffic congestion from our streets.

Glenn Young

Aina Haina


Even in these days overshadowed by the coronavirus, bright spots exist. If you see kindness or positivity going on, share it with our readers via a 150- word letter to the editor; email it to We’ll be running some of these uplifting letters occasionally to help keep spirits up, as we hunker down. We are all in this together.


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