Lieutenant Governor Josh Green joined Spotlight Hawaii to talk about the state’s response to the coronavirus. In a lengthy and frank discussion, Green warned that new restrictions could be coming if the daily case counts continue to rise.
“If we are here next week Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and we’re still seeing 150 to 200 cases a day, that’s a number that’s not sustainable as far as taking care of patients three weeks later,” Green said. “My advice will have to be to the Governor to do the full shutdown and go back to a four week period of stay at home, if that’s the number. The reason for that is that it worked.”
Green says the state is ramping up contact tracing efforts, increasing the number of staff to 200, along with adding volunteers and the National Guard. He says officials are meeting today to work out more details.
On the subject of education, the Lt. Governor says he does not expect full in-person learning to resume in the first quarter of the school year, and says that parents should plan for the possibility of distance learning for the rest of the calendar year.
Green also spoke about the challenges of meeting the health needs of the Pacific Islander community, which has seen a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases. And he emphasized that young people, particularly millennials, who may not be as impacted by the virus physically, still need to take social distancing and mask-wearing mandates seriously.
“The business community and the economy will stay closed as long as we have high cases, and they will be unemployed. They will not be able to afford housing. They will not be able to afford cars. They will not be able to afford their education because they will not be able to go back to work. And they may kill their grandparents,” he explained. “So the combo of those things should be enough to kind of chill and not spread the virus for a month.”
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation about the economy. Click here to watch previous conversations.