Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 83° Today's Paper


Letters: Vaccines work better than natural immunity; Testing all travelers could reduce infections; Climate catastrophe may prompt emergency action

The recent letter from Matt Noponen noted two kinds of immunity to COVID-19: natural immunity after recovery from the disease, and vaccine- acquired immunity (“Include in count those who had COVID,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 1). He said he’s betting both provide equal resistance to the disease — and so both should count toward herd immunity.

The problem is that natural immunity only fights off the particular variant that caused the illness, but not newly evolving variants like delta. In contrast, vaccine-acquired immunity fights off the original COVID-19, the delta variant, other known variants, and (so far as we can predict) new variants as they emerge.

The vaccine makers have been perfecting this class of vaccines for some years now, after fighting against SARS and MERS and similar diseases, and of course, COVID-19 — which is why the current vaccine is so effective, and also why the vaccine was developed in apparently record time.

Karen A. Essene

Waialae Nui Ridge


Vaccination and testing would improve odds

Lt. Gov. Josh Green was asked recently if the state would revert back to testing incoming passengers regardless of vaccination status.

Recent data indicates that the false negative test rate is in the range of 10%. Two tests close to each other may reduce it to 1%. The delta variant caused 35,000 symptomatic breakthroughs per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans, or 0.02% per week. Assuming that asymptomatic breakthrough is 10 times more, the risk is still only 0.2%.

Therefore, exempting fully vaccinated visitors results in a much smaller risk (0.2%) than exempting negative- tested visitors (1%-10%). So vaccination, rather than testing, should be the necessary condition for exemption.

If the state is serious on the matter, it should require both vaccination and negative test, to reach a much smaller risk of 0.02%. In case of infection after arrival, a vaccinated visitor will be less ill and less likely to burden the Hawaii health system than one unvaccinated.

Chih-Pei Chang

Morgan Hill, Calif.


Testing all travelers could reduce infections

There is an elephant in the room that no one seems to notice.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that fully vaccinated people have the potential to spread the virus to others (“Governments, businesses race to reimpose mask mandates as coronavirus surges again in U.S.,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, July 28).

This was in reference to the delta variant. With extremely high numbers of tourists arriving, numerous contagious folks are infecting others. This played out recently on the North Shore when a vaccinated couple spread the variant to an entire wedding party.

It doesn’t matter where you stand on the subject of whether to get the vaccine shot or not. We had very low numbers, with fewer vaccinated people, until we opened the door to tourists who no longer need a test to come to Hawaii.

It may be unvaccinated people who are bearing the brunt of this surge, but a return to testing everyone before arriving in the islands is the best way to reduce infections immediately.

Greg McCaul



Monk seals are wild carnivores, not toys

Several decades ago, a hippopotamus escaped from a zoo near where I then lived, and took up residence at a local ranch. For several months she evaded all attempts at recapture. Many were angry that, although she posed no danger to residents, recapture took so long. Apparently they had seen too many cartoon hippos to understand that a 2-ton mammal with 6-inch-long tusks will not go docilely where it does not want to go.

That same sort of ignorance seems to inform views of Hawaiian monk seals. Monk seals are wild carnivores, equipped with industrial-strength teeth and jaws. They are not plush toys. People who insist on cuddling or posing with them deserve to get bitten.

At least the Louisiana couple cited for harassing a seal had the decency to apologize. However, anyone who truly loves animals should know enough to respect them, and leave them alone.

Heu‘ionalani Wyeth

Anahola, Kauai


Police union protests send mixed message

I agree with Roman Leverenz (“Allow HPD court case to play itself out,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 29).

SHOPO is giving a mixed message with its protests (“Hundreds rally for Honolulu police officers accused in fatal shooting,” Star-Advertiser, June 26). The court case offers a chance for the police officers to clear their names and for everyone to see what the officers were dealing with.

I have no opinion of guilt versus innocence until I can fully examine the evidence. I do think life in prison with the possibility of parole is over the top.

I have to believe no officer but the most damaged, morally bankrupt individual goes to work with the intent to murder.

We equip Honolulu police officers with tools that kill. I don’t use ice, invade homes, steal cars or run from the police because I fear the consequences.

If you mess with the bull, you may get the horns. The bull can make a bad call and you still get the horns. Don’t mess with the bulls!

Yuri D. Popov



Climate catastrophe may prompt emergency action

Perhaps the climate disasters occurring right now around the world have a silver lining.

Perhaps these simultaneous disasters will be just what it takes to jolt the world into emergency action to avert, to the extent possible, the existential climate catastrophe that is barreling down upon us.

Robert Retherford



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), letters@staradvertiser.com, staradvertiser.com/editorial/submit-letter

Click here to view more Letters to the Editor. Or submit a letter below.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

* Required field

Dear Editor,

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.