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Letters: Better information needed about tests; Groups of maskless hikers add to risk; Police departments need civilian oversight

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Use common sense with COVID-19, please. It is not about a number. It is about a percentage and who is getting tested.

If you test people who are sick, you will likely get a higher percentage. If you test people who are associated with clusters, you will likely get a higher percentage. If you do random testing with no symptoms or connections to clusters, you will likely get a small percentage. If you test 2,000 folks, you will get a positive number; if you test 20,000 people you get a higher number.

We are in the “yellow” range of risk, according to officials. Even that is misleading. What we really want to know is the percentage of cases out there that are not connected to folks going to the doctor or part of a known cluster.

It also would be useful to know how people likely contracted the virus; I realize this is not an exact science. I doubt that anyone got it hiking, playing tennis, golf or any other outdoor exercise activity. It really does seem the spread comes from close contact with someone who is infected and breathes out those nasty Corona beer bubbles (my sense of humor), and not from a door handle.

Bill McRoberts



Not everything needs to be locked down

The editorials and letters in the Star-Advertiser (“State falls short on data, transparency,” Our View, Aug. 18; “Closure of community gardens shortsighted,” “Handi-Van service isn’t adequate for COVID-19,” “Older surfers need closer access to beach,” “Open Ala Moana Park for early walkers” (Letters, Aug. 18) are uniformly polite toward government, and are solicitous of reasonable consideration for exceptions to the recent closure edicts.

Even now, as suggested (or as reason informs us):

>> Open the community gardens every other day for every other plot to provide physical distancing.

>> Open the parks for exercise and for small family groups of five or less, with physical separation, and simply enforce that.

>> Allow restaurants, bowling alleys, even bars (until 10 p.m.) that are operating within the guidelines, to remain open. Don’t penalize business that have been operating properly. And don’t penalize us citizens by making life harder than it has to be.

>> Enforce masking when indoors or in more crowded outdoor areas (but not when exercising). Enforce physical distancing.

We must do our best to bring the infection levels down, but please, within reason, as the letters above request.

Richard Stancliff



Groups of maskless hikers add to risk

Doan Nguyen questioned the decision to temporarily close hiking trails (“Hiking good for health; reopen public trails,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 19).

While I, too, enjoy hiking Hawaii’s trails, it is my experience that the trails have been more crowded recently, probably due to the unavailability of other outdoor pursuits.

On Aug. 1, the Aiea Loop Trail had many groups hiking in both directions; only about half of the hikers were wearing masks. It was necessary, on several occasions, to inch past others.

In contrast, at the Nuuanu YMCA, you had to make an appointment for your workout 48 hours in advance so that the staff could manage numbers using the facility for each 90-minute period; answer questions regarding your health and potential exposure to the virus; stand in a socially distanced line; have your temperature taken before admittance; work out on machines spaced 6 feet apart; sanitize each machine before and after use; and wear a mask throughout your workout.

I feel a lot safer at the Y than I did that day on the Aiea Loop Trail.

Toby Kravet



Hawaii needed healer from the mainland

Back in the 1500s, Hawaii people were sick. There may have been an epidemic or many ailments, but the population and Hawaiian healers had lost the knowledge of how to deal with what was wrong. Fortunately, people still sailed between Hawaii and other Pacific islands, and four healers (Kapaemahu, Kinohi, Kahaloa and Kapuni) came from Tahiti to help. They cured Hawaiian people and retaught the old ways of healing. In gratitude, four large stones were brought from Kaimuki to Waikiki in their honor. You can see Na Pohaku Ola today.

Hawaii’s people are sick again. Collectively we are unable to follow simple rules that slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, our leaders are incapable of acting boldly, innovatively or honestly. Fortunately, again from afar, we have been visited by another healer, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. He somehow managed to convince our invertebrate leaders that you actually have to do extensive testing and contact tracing, not just talk (or lie) about doing them.

Who knew? Maybe it’s time to drag another stone down from Kaimuki.

Scott Rowland



Inactivity, isolation do more harm than good

Please lift the 14-day quarantine for returning residents who can present a negative pre-travel testing result, and open up the parks and beaches again.

As a septuagenarian, I stay healthy by walking at least 10,000 steps several times a week and getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine to boost immunity. On my first day outside after the quarantine, my body and legs felt weaker and now there is no park or beach for exercise to get stronger.

The inactivity and isolation does more harm than good. As long as we wear our masks, maintain social distancing, and practice our handwashing, there should be no reason to shut down our parks and beaches. The health and mental well-being of our residents are at stake here.

Judy Lee



Police departments need civilian oversight

The most effective tool to stop the horrendous injudicious police killings and other police brutality and bias, and to implement police reform, is to have proper civilian oversight of police forces in every community.

It is therefore the duty and responsibility of each of us to ensure that our own community has such civilian oversight. Unfortunately, in Honolulu, where the Honolulu Police Commission exists as an organization within the Police Department, we do not have proper civilian oversight. This is not a matter of whether our city’s police department needs civilian oversight, but a matter of all police departments needing it.

I call upon the City Council to immediately start the process of revising the City Charter so that Honolulu may count itself among the responsible communities of the world.

Michael Richards



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