Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Saturday, May 18, 2024 77° Today's Paper


Letters: Agencies step up to curb virus among homeless; Don’t hold RIMPAC; Stop rationing tests

Social distancing is essential to protecting everyone in our community, but those experiencing homelessness don’t have a place to take shelter to protect themselves.

Through a collaborative effort with the city, state Department of Health, the Institute for Human Services and Local 5, we were able to open the doors to the COVID-19 Medical Triage and Quarantine Center to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in our homeless population.

I’m incredibly grateful to our partners and our funders, The MacNaughton Group Foundation, Nareit Hawaii and the Hawaii Community Foundation, for making this possible and allowing us to act quickly to protect individuals who are vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.

So much is possible when we bring together philanthropy, policymakers and nonprofits to address pressing needs. We have shown that we are stronger together and I am optimistic that we will continue to rise up as a community to overcome this threat with compassion and collaboration.

Andy Mounthongdy

Executive director, Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui


Health care workers first; the golf game can wait

Recently, following a round of golf at Royal Kunia, I was dismayed at the news that Mayor Kirk Caldwell was mandating that all privately owned golf courses be closed to golf play effective April 1 at 4:30 p.m.

As an avid golfer, I’ve considered my 35 years of weekly golf a highlight of my week and I was naturally disappointed. However, after listening to reports on the struggle health care workers are enduring, it became crystal clear that the mayor is doing his job by caring for all of us — golfers and nongolfers.

So to Caldwell I say mahalo, and to all those at every level of health care, I say how very proud of you we are and that many, many of us pray for your safety and well-being.

Oahu: Stay home and stay safe, and we’ll see you on a golf course before too long!

John Votsis



Foolish to shut down world because of coronavirus

First, apologies to the people in government trying to do the right thing, and to anyone who may be offended by what I write. I am a kupuna of 77 years. I also am a progressive Democrat, so my view may seem out of whack — but I believe it is the correct one.

An estimated 61,000 people died of the seasonal flu in 2017-2018. Where were all of the human-interest stories for those deaths, where was all of the panic and stress, where was the worldwide shutdown? There was none, but now with a novel coronavirus and far, far fewer deaths, “they” shut down the world. Totally insane, foolish and downright stupid.

Death is a natural part of life. Let Mother Nature do her thing.

People who are truly concerned can stay at home, do what they think best. The news media are hypocrites — they love to sensationalize. Shame on them.

Paul Pitarys



Don’t hold RIMPAC during the coronavirus pandemic

As a retired U.S. Army colonel with 29 years of service, I find it extraordinary that with 4,000-plus sailors being offloaded in Guam for exposure to COVID-19 on the USS Roosevelt, and U.S. military at domestic bases are told not to travel, the Department of Defense would not immediately cancel the mammoth RIMPAC military excercises scheduled off Hawaii in less than two months. RIMPAC brings more than 25,000 personnel and more than 200 ships, submarines and aircraft from 20-plus countries.

Save resources — human, fiscal, medical — for the true threat to U.S. national security: a virus, not bombs and bullets.

Cancel RIMPAC.

Ann Wright

Ala Wai


Stop rationing tests; every person should be screened

John Berestecky, professor of microbiology at Kapiolani Community College, is absolutely right (“Widespread testing needed to fight virus,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, April 1).

We need to get everyone who has not been tested for the coronavirus, and wants to be tested, tested as soon as possible — even is they are asymptomatic. If we do this, we will know who has the virus and should be quarantined.

There are tests available that can have results in minutes or hours. If we wait for someone to show symptoms and does test positive, they have already had a week to 10 days to spread the virus. And some people never show symptoms, yet they shed the virus and infect others who do get sick.

Rationing of the tests has to stop if we are to contain this virus.

Alan Okamura

Pearl City


Newspaper needed to keep community informed

This is why it’s critical we keep the newspaper afloat and active in these trying times. Not just for your oh-so-important in-depth reporting, but also for the vital written, printed word through which many people in this state, especially kupuna, get their only news — through their daily newspapers.

Pivoting from “Dining Out” to “Dining In” is a great public service. Thank you for being there. We need you!

Mahalo nui loa and malama pono.

Karin Lynn



Take precautions when using nebulizers at home

I recently saw on TV that patient-owned nebulizers, used at home to assist in breathing, produces a fine mist into the air that could carry the coronavirus onto anyone nearby. Maybe we should alert family members at home. My suggestion is to shoot the mist into a bag, then dispose safely.

Brad Sang



Protect public from service-resistant homeless

This happened recently in Chinatown: Four homeless men were hanging out in a doorway, coughing uncontrollably. It was so alarming, the landlord called 911.

Ambulance and police responded to get them to medical help. However, the men declined services and moved down the street.

These men are known in our neighborhood. They are alcoholics who spend the day panhandling and drinking in front our shops and in the park.

They’ve been offered housing but choose to live this way in Chinatown for the free meals and medical attention and easy access to cheap alcohol.

Question: While the rest of the populace “takes one for the team” to keep each other safe, why do homeless addicts get to choose to spread disease in our community?

State and city leaders, please take control of this situation. Don’t wait for mentally ill and addicted homeless people to start making healthy choices.

Go out where they are, test them and get the sick ones into quarantine now.

Then get the rest off our streets and into shelters where they can get the help they need without endangering the public.

Frances Butera



Biki bike stations a blight along Leahi Beach Park

Leahi and Makalei Beach Parks, along historically scenic Diamond Head Road and the Diamond Head State Monument shoreline, were recently beautifully restored through private contributions.

Comes now a shocking blight akin to graffiti, with the sudden quasi-commercial installation of blue Biki blight defacing Leahi Beach Park, its infrastructure and rental bikes jutting into the sidewalk normally used by myriad walkers, joggers and runners.

Bikeshare Inc. has done the same to Ala Moana Regional Park, with its huge horseshoe of blue Biki blight fronting the park’s historic Roosevelt Gate, having first failed to line Kapiolani Park Trust lands with its invasive infrastructure.

This shocking plan never came before the neighborhood board, nor was it disclosed to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Diamond Head Citizens Advisory Committee.

Who in the city autonomously “approved” this obstruction of a public sidewalk?

The mayor, by ultimately allowing this, is challenging his own proclamation for shelter-in-place and safe distance, and should remove this Biki blight and its invasive infrastructure.

Michelle Spalding Matson

Diamond Head


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