Public leaders have advised us to find what routine we can to maintain our sanity in these dreadful times, so … it’s the last Sunday in March and time to “flASHback” on the month’s news that amused and confused — mostly the latter.
>> Stores reported a rush on hand sanitizers and toilet paper as personal hygiene became the first line of defense against COVID-19. The coronavirus caused such a scare that even the politicians worried about keeping their hands clean.
>> They couldn’t, of course. House Speaker Scott Saiki called the governor’s response “utterly chaotic” and Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a medical doctor, described the state’s testing program as “a total fail,” getting him banished from Gov. David Ige’s news conferences for a time. Other states have a coronavirus czar; we need a referee.
>> To counter the criticism of his leadership, Ige personally led the state’s daily news briefings to demonstrate he was in charge. To be certain he was understood, he leaned frequently on an old Beatles lyric, “Goo goo g’joob.”
>> The mayors of Oahu, Maui and Kauai issued their own “stay at home, work from home” orders after Ige hesitated, finally forcing the governor to go along. Our leaders finally got to the same page — of different scripts, unfortunately.
>> Big Island Mayor Harry Kim was the outlier, initially refusing to even close the county’s bars and restaurants to slow the spread of the virus. Turning off the liquor tap on the Big Isle is like shutting the chocolate fountains in Wonkaville.
>> The Hawaii Legislature abruptly recessed its 2020 session as local coronavirus cases began to mount. Our small state can handle only one virus at a time.
>> Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto closed public schools until April 30 and said she’ll make adjustments to assure the 10,000 seniors graduate. Instead of being college or job ready, they’ll only have to prove proficiency at social distancing.
>> Honolulu rail CEO Andrew Robbins expressed confidence the coronavirus won’t affect the opening of the first passenger segment later this year. Oahu rail is like the cockroach that can survive nuclear annihilation.
>> Authorities had trouble keeping the beaches clear of shoulder-to-shoulder crowds as some tourists and locals alike treated the state quarantine as just another holiday. There are no social, cultural or economic barriers too stupid.
>> U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard used the coronavirus as an excuse to end her fantasy presidential campaign and throw her support to Joe Biden. Her endorsement assures Biden all the electoral votes from Never Never Land.
And the quote of the month … from economist Paul Brewbaker: “There’s the bad, the worse and then the awful scenario. We are probably in the worse trying to prevent things from getting really awful.” Oh for the days when we could wallow in the futless.
Reach David Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.