Hawaii’s unique geography allowed for the state to achieve some of the best infection control results. But any reopening of the state could invite COVID infections back into the state. It will be impossible to avoid COVID in near future.
It is a question of what actions the state will take to mitigate the worst impacts. That policy debate is happening now, as Ige approaches June reopening dates.
Rep. McDermott and Rep. Ward are pushing for strong screening during a visitor’s airport processing, with visitors taking tests at their origin point 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawaii. Under their plan, in-airport testing would be possible combined with quarantines for positives or forced immediate expulsion of uncooperative visitors. Critics say testing isn’t 100% foolproof, but catching a significant number is better than no testing at all.
Honolulu is using $4 million in federal funds to provide 50,000 antigen tests and 50,000 antibody tests in partnership with local health centers and the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Wastewater treatment plants will also be testing for infection. The tests will be offered at no or low cost.
Moratorium against eviction for failure to pay rent has been extended through June 30. As reported yesterday, Ige plans to open up “medium risk” businesses like gyms, restaurants, salons, in-room dining, theatres, churches, museums, etc. in the month of June.
Buffet restaurants will have to take additional infection control measures like sneeze guards, individual tongs, gloves for everyone, etc. Not mentioned in this article is that more workers can be used to do portion-service in a buffet context.
Depending on what may happen with economic reopenings, second or third wave lock downs, and school openings/closures, childcare availability will affect working families ability to go back to work and function.
The Hawaii Foodbank is holding another major food distribution at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Aloha Stadium. It is the sixth of nine “Food for Hawai‘i’s ‘Ohana” events planned in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Participants should enter at Gate 3 on Kahuapaani Street and must arrive in a vehicle, with space clear for the food. TheFoodbank requires a valid government-issued ID and a completed Household Information Form for each household represented (an adult from each household represented must be present; three households maximum per vehicle). The form and other information can be found at http://www.hawaiifoodbank.org/covid-oahu . Those who cannot access or print a form should bring a pen.
These events are in addition to 200 drives that the Foodbank regularly participates in via partner agencies.
The Republican Party is building a program to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers in over a dozen states to conduct anti-”voter fraud” efforts, which means monitoring polls and challenging votes and voter registrations, according to the New York Times. The Republican party is spending $20 million on its efforts, which intends to recruit up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 states to “monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious,” the Times reports. The money is also intended to fight Democratic-backed lawsuits against alleged voter suppression efforts on the part of Republicans.
The Wisconsin conservative protests to “reopen” the economy had large number of people with assault rifles show up. The issue at hand was about the economy, jobs, health, and a microscopic germ. Bringing guns to that protest at a state capital building was nothing but domestic terrorism (lawmakers had to wear bullet proof vests). It was use of fear and intimidation for political purposes (and maybe appeal to party identity). Any Republican justification for their voter suppression is a lie and nothing more than a cover story to once again use fear and intimidation to suppress people.
World: Cases: 4.9M (+100k). Deaths: 322k (+4k).
USA: Cases: 1.52M (+20k). Deaths: 91.8k (+1.5). Total Tested: 12.2M (+400k).
Hawaii: Cases: 641 (+0). Deaths: 17 (+0). Hospitalized: 82 (+0). Recovered: 578 (+3).