I totally get that COVID-19 has gotten out of hand in Honolulu and we need to take action. I don’t get that Emergency Order 2020-25 is the right answer (“Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces new stay-at-home, work-from-home order for Oahu,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 25).
The idea should be to shut down anything that involves large numbers of people in potentially unprotected situations like bars, restaurants or beach parties. Hair salons and other small businesses, with appropriate precautions, don’t really fit that description. Neither do hiking trails or running on the beach.
Apparently COVID-19 cases are especially severe in the Pacific islander and Filipino communities. We should be surging testing and taking other preventative actions in those communities, but there is nothing to address that in the latest order.
Honolulu needs a logical plan, not an order that uses a broadsword where a scalpel is required.
Focus on percentages, not raw case numbers
Hopefully, the metrics that drive the decision on what stays locked down and for how long is based not on the raw numbers, but on percentages.
Yes, the raw numbers are grim — 250 case positive, 300 positive — but the decision on what stays locked down and for how long should be based on the percentage of positive results against the total number of tests. For example, if one-day results show 300 positive cases based on 3,000 tests, the positive rate is 10%. Now if with surge testing we see 500 positive cases, based on 5,000 tests, that is still a 10% positive rate. It shouldn’t initiate an additional lockdown.
Also, the cluster factor should be considered. The numbers from the Oahu Community Correctional Center should have a minimal impact on decisions to lock down businesses because the inmates are isolated from the general population.
The media should emphasize the percentages more than the total cases for the day, and note that the numbers reflect the prior three to four days.
College-age students behave irresponsibly
As a person of the college-age demographic, it appalls me how selfish and inconsiderate my peers are during the time of this pandemic. I heard from several of my classmates planning to break the stay-at-home order. I’ve seen many people on social media throwing parties while breaking quarantine, sharing cups with friends.
It’s very frustrating while buying textbooks to see the same people refusing to wear masks. I’m fed up with people not taking this seriously. Unlike some, I live on my own without a security net of financial stability or familial help. It’s time to think about not just yourself, but about the people whose death you may be responsible for.
Teachers have better resources at school
I don’t think that most teachers in public schools have the technology and equipment to work from home. I have three kids in grade school and during their online class sessions, their teachers say that they are using three or four computers and their projection screens in their classrooms to manage and instruct the 25-plus students in an online class.
Do most public school teachers have at home three to four computers, a robust and stable Wi-Fi connection, and a projection screen to handle the 25-plus Google Meet attendees who make up a typical classroom? What about the distractions and noise that a typical neighborhood and household has, like dogs barking, deliveries, lawn mowers and trash pickup? Can the teachers working from home have the peace and quiet needed to conduct a two- to three-hour online class session?
Pacific islanders fight virus and prejudice
With the protests against systemic racism raging in our country, there have been discussions about whether our own police force shows prejudice against Native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders.
More than a year ago, I had a random encounter with a police officer who himself was part-Hawaiian. He was a super-nice individual — very personable. Then I brought up how I felt Micronesians were getting a raw deal in Hawaii, encountering a lot of prejudice. His reaction was that the Micronesian males were nothing but trouble. The women seemed to be OK, but the males were members of gangs and showed no respect for law and order. And he didn’t really care how much we might owe the Micronesian people for using their islands for atomic-bomb testing.
If there is one positive that might come out of this COVID-19 pandemic, suffered disproportionately by our Micronesian neighbors, it is a possible focusing on how we can better understand and deal with the challenges and prejudices that Micronesians are confronting in Hawaii. And they are many.
Is Trump saying it’s all right to break the law?
Now that the president has defied the Hatch Act, how much rent will the campaign be charged for the use of the White House lawn to hold a political rally (“Trump lashes Biden, defies pandemic on White House stage,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 27)? Also, the use of fireworks in Washington, D.C., is only allowed by permit. How was this obtained?
Will Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be charged for the use of his position to advertise whom to vote for in the coming election? Why does the president love to break the law? Does he really care about legality? Is it all right for everybody to follow his pattern and defy the law and also to lie? I am so confused!
No payroll tax means no Social Security
Social Security Administration Chief Actuary Stephen C. Goss sent a letter to the U.S. Senate on Aug. 24 stating if President Donald Trump’s proposal to permanently eliminate the payroll tax is implemented, all Social Security checks to recipients would cease in three years. It would take an increase in income tax rates to fund Social Security payments beyond the summer of 2023. If saving Social Security is important to you, make your voice heard by casting your vote in November.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser welcomes all opinions. Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor.
>> Write us: We welcome letters up to 150 words, and guest columns of 500-600 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Include your name, address and daytime phone number.
>> Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210 Honolulu, HI 96813
>> Contact: 529-4831 (phone), 529-4750 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org, staradvertiser.com/editorial/submit-letter