There is nothing more important now than devising a way to eliminate the 14-day quarantine on arrivals.
Hotels, retail stores, rental companies, airlines, restaurants and countless other service-related businesses are not going to survive much longer.
We must get a plan of action underway, in which incoming visitors and residents can be tested prior to boarding aircraft.
My suggestion is for airlines to agree on a handful of entry hubs — large airports with adequate holding facilities. Underutilized customs areas may be ideal, with secure areas that can accommodate large numbers of people in an orderly fashion.
Use some the federal money available to administer and analyze test results on the spot. Many visitors will gladly wait a few extra hours in an airport as opposed to a two-week quarantine in a hotel room.
So many of the downstream problems on which we are wasting precious time and money would be eliminated if we can assure those arriving are virus-free.
Impose tax on tourists for virus-related costs
Hawaii is doing really well battling COVID-19: staying home, wearing masks, social distancing. However, like the inevitability of rain from stormy skies, the opening of our state to tourists will bring a steady supply of the coronavirus and we will be infected once again.
We cannot mandate that airlines test passengers while on their planes, nor can we require certain apps on tourists’ phones, or prevent tourists from lying about their plans.
But what we should do is tax every tourist for every day they are here. $10 per day, $20 per day, pick a number, but make it a big one. It would be a tax to counter the coronavirus, paid for by those who endanger the place they have come to visit. Add it to hotel bills. Tack some on to rental cars, too, but only for nonresidents.
The tourist tax must only be used for combating the coronavirus; it cannot go toward the rail transit money pit or other pet projects.
It’s a tax on tourists, not residents, that should be removed once COVID-19 is no longer a death threat.
Residents grounded, but not nonresidents
I am uncomfortably baffled. I have been following guidelines, staying in, doing everything I’m told to do. We’ve done a great job here. I finally felt safe enough to maybe fly to Oahu for much-needed and overdue medical tests. Then I discovered that recently 400-plus nonresidents flew into the state. Around 70 came to Hawaii island. Just when I’m feeling OK with all my neighbors, this happens. Soon we will go back to Square One. I freaking do not want to start over!
I’m all for bringing in tourists and supporting our economy, if it’s done correctly. This is not mildly close to correctly.
Note to Gov. David Ige: Find a way to test or monitor correctly. You’re doing a terrible job. You are not welcome to come to my funeral. It might be soon.
Quarantine exemptions show inconsistencies
Our mobility rights help distinguish the United States from less-enlightened countries. We cherish these rights, and we expect our authorities to protect them, even during present time when extreme actions are taken in the name of safety.
We are told that Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine, which applies to those traveling to the state, is an acute but necessary safety precaution. Yet there have been hundreds of exemptions granted for those involved with “critical infrastructure,” and these travelers walk freely among us.
At the same time, a returning Hawaii resident who tests negative for COVID-19 the day after arriving is still subject to the 14-day quarantine. Although no test is perfect, it is inarguable that those testing negative for COVID-19 are less risky to the public than someone who isn’t tested at all.
This clear policy inconsistency, without remedy, calls into question its integrity, its purpose, and those supporting it.
Blanket virus testing for visitors fruitless
There is a general misconception regarding coronavirus testing that was made clear in the May 6 JAMA edition.
To understand the disease, we all realize that the incubation period is two to 14 days, but few understand that the virus is shed one week prior to symptoms and one week after.
The CDC recommends testing only those patients with symptoms. Furthermore, the standard PCR test only becomes positive at the onset of symptoms (one week after the virus is being shed), and remains positive for weeks to months with varying degrees of false positives and false negatives reported.
Those with good immune response develop antibodies two to three weeks after symptoms begin. If a person is shedding the virus they can test negative and if they are beyond the time they are contagious, they will continue to test positive.
To blanket recommend PCR testing of all visitors would be fruitless.
Gary R. Johnson, D.V.M., D.O.
Candidates shouldn’t cite old endorsements
Candidates must be honest about their endorsements, which could change from cycle to cycle. Endorsements from outside groups help voters like me decide whom to support.
In my home district of Mililani, I’ve noticed a longtime former elected official listing endorsements on her website that aren’t accurate.
No matter how competitive the race, I believe that there is absolutely no aloha for candidates who make false and misleading statements just to get ahead. Voters deserve better.
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