Are we willing to risk our lives, health and future well-being to reopen tourism with the pandemic raging in 31 states? How many of us have to get this painful virus or die before the politicians, the corporate intelligentsia, business owners and others realize this virus will rage with little discrimination as on the mainland?
If a large number of our population gets the virus, who will clean the hotel rooms, wait on tables, work as cashiers in stores? It was arrogant to think this state will not suffer large increases of COVID-19 by opening tourism on Aug. 1.
Europe and others won’t allow Americans in. Alaska tests incoming people on arrival. Documents can be falsified. You can get it before boarding. Hawaii is not equipped to deal with pandemic surges.
Another lockdown will be even more disastrous since more islanders will have the virus. The best plan is not to reopen tourism until the medical experts tell us it’s safe.
No one denies the negative economic impact, but an economy is reversible. Death is not.
Unemployment levels call for reopening plan
It is shameful that the state apparently doesn’t have a plan to reopen tourism beyond a possible lifting of the two-week quarantine (initially on Aug. 1 and now delayed to Sept. 1).
It begs the question who is in charge of putting together a plan, which should include a survey of people’s attitude toward traveling to Hawaii.
Any plan developed now will need adjusting and mistakes will be made, but given the level of unemployment, personal bankruptcies and businesses closing, we need someone in charge and tasked with pulling together a plan now.
To do otherwise is irresponsible, leading to further reductions in state and county budgets, increased taxes, personal hardship and a drain of residents who move out of state.
Much as they care for students, teachers at risk
William Shelor is concerned about state Department of Education employees being tested for COVID-19 before schools start because “keiki and kupuna deserve nothing less” (“Test DOE employees before schools reopen,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 7).
I agree. But I am a kupuna DOE teacher who is really worried about getting the virus from my students. Not just a few of my students live in densely populated, cramped apartments with their extended family. They are mostly low-income; many are immigrants.
I love my students and respect their families, but I am also at risk. Do teachers and staff matter, too? All people involved need to not get the virus. We in the DOE are very concerned with the situation, and working very hard to create safe and effective learning situations for our students. It’s not an easy endeavor.
COVID tests unreliable, so be extra-protective
Hawaii’s proposal to require travelers to have a single negative test within 72 hours before departure is not protective.
A recent published analysis found a 68% false negative rate on the fourth day following COVID-19 exposure. In other words, only 1 of 3 people tested who have the virus will test positive.
Even at Day 8 of viral exposure, the probability of detecting positive cases is still just 80%. Since up to 40% of COVID-19-positive people have no symptoms, temperature screening at airports also are an inadequate screening procedure.
Viral testing has clear limitations, which is why New York State health officials decided to adopt a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people traveling from or through 19 states with a 10% or higher positivity rate. While tourism is important to Hawaii’s economy, Hawaii should follow New York’s more protective approach until all other states have controlled the virus.
Former professor of environmental and occupational health sciences
University of Illinois
Raising minimum wage would mean job losses
Jimmy Chan’s commentary, “A small-business owner’s perspective on the minimum wage” (Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, July 7), speaks for so many Hawaii small-business owners.
He outlined perfectly what they are up against and highlighted the two groups who suffer job loss the most when the minimum-wage rate is raised: younger workers and the least skilled.
The minimum wage always has been an entry-level wage earned mostly by those starting out on their employment life. Losing entry-level wage jobs or accelerating the demise of small businesses hurts everyone. Kudos to Chan for detailing what is at stake.
We know that legislators have been listening and that will hopefully mean good news not only for Chan’s taro and sweet-potato chip-making business, but for the employees and future employees of small businesses across the state.
State director, National Federation of Independent Business
Thomas is among inane apologists for Trump
I was angered upon reading Cal Thomas’ column (“Lightning can strike twice, if the president changes tone,” Star-Advertiser, July 7). Thomas continues to be one of the inane apologists for President Donald Trump.
His recommendations that Trump change his election strategy to provide leadership in the COVID-19 crisis, have empathy to the families of the deceased, and stop ranting through divisive messages, will never happen. Trump is without morals and shows no humanity to others. He simply is focused on his own selfish political gain and fooling his gullible base, including the evangelicals and fearful whites.
Revelations from the book by his niece, Mary Trump, confirm his abysmal character. We need to vote Trump and his corrupt supporters out in November.
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