Releasing inmates is nothing new
Incarcerated people and those working in jails and prisons deserve concern and equal protection against COVID-19. Our state Supreme Court seems to understand this, but surprisingly, our state attorney general, police, prosecutors and others are suddenly concerned that people cannot be safely released because they may not have a place to live and their other needs may be unmet.
Every day for decades, incarcerated people in Hawaii who are not paroled, have been released regularly from jail and prison without a place to live or help meeting their other needs.
COVID-19 is an opportunity for government and the public to abandon the “lock them up and throw away the key” ideology. When Hawaii had a more humane justice system, which government officials like Russ Takaki helped provide, our formerly incarcerated people had the lowest repeat crime rate in the United States. We need protection and genuine concern for all people again.
Professor of practice
Public Policy Center, University of Hawaii
Teach parents how to teach at home
Hawaii schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said schools might start a mix of online teaching and home instructional packets (“Hawaii’s public schools will start offering grab-and-go meals for kids Monday,” Star- Advertiser, March 20).
The first priority for public school teachers is to “train the trainers.” Their first target audience is not students, but students’ parents who want the best for their kids and will be their education managers, if not their teachers.
Take ideas from home- schooling experts, even the religion-based (mostly Christian), who have decades of teaching distance learning.
Also, don’t rely so much on online technologies. It’s not a godsend. Times like these are great opportunities for bad actors in the IT world. I’m surprised the media isn’t looking into this, since millions more are depending on their internet lifelines.
Convert convention center quickly
I was horrified to see the photo in the Star-Advertiser (March 31) showing a large, vacant room at our convention center. The caption said that the state is “prepared to convert the Hawai‘i Convention Center into health care facilities.”
Please, let’s hope and pray, the Army Corps of Engineers will quickly transform that room and others into hospital-ready units with equipment and supplies able to care for non-COVID-19 patients. We must start transferring these patients now, so that existing ICUs in our acute-care hospitals can treat more acutely ill COVID-19 patients.
Unfortunately, at least three Hawaii COVID-19 patients have died. This is the tip of our iceberg. When the crush of critically ill patients overwhelms our hospitals, as is likely, we won’t have staff or time to transfer less-ill patients. Unnecessary mass confusion will reign and, sadly, more patients will die.
Public should not use medical masks
In the fight against COVID-19, Hawaii needs to act fast. Health care workers around the world are getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Keeping doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and others healthy is paramount. The purpose of “flattening the curve” is to reduce the burden on the medical system. Each sick health care provider means a reduced capacity in our hospitals.
Our local health care workers are conserving personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to stave off the shortages we’re seeing on the mainland. Our hospitals are exploring ways to sanitize masks so that a health care worker can safely wear the same mask for up to four days.
Knowing that we are reusing masks, I’ve been disappointed to see so many people walking around town wearing medical face masks. If you have any respiratory symptoms, please stay home.
People wearing masks must stop taking them from health care settings, and if they have masks at home, should consider donating to our local hospitals.
Samantha Kaiser, M.D.
Banks can suspend loan payments
Since banks and insurance companies received such large bailouts from taxpayers during the last major financial crisis, why don’t they return the favor now?
Banks can suspend all loan repayments and interest charges for 90 days (at least those made to individuals and/or small businesses). Please note, I am only suggesting that they suspend payments and interest. Likewise, insurance companies can suspend all premium payments (including health insurance premiums) for the same 90 days.
This will allow people and small businesses to focus their financial resources toward other essentials (like food and shelter) during this crisis.
Patrick J. Luby