Letters: Find better ways to track quarantined visitors; Pub owner struggles without help; Asian Americans face epidemic of racism | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
The current efforts to enforce the 14-day quarantine by becoming more and more punitive are futile. Those who are law-abiding are not a problem. Those who are not, will find a way around the law.
Our leaders might take a look at how Iceland is handling visitors to the country, as reported recently in The Washington Post. Arriving visitors have a choice to present a negative test for the virus from the country of origin, take a test at the airport, or be quarantined.
The test results return in a few hours, and all arrivals can be contacted via phone or GPS to quarantine those with positive results. This approach will be piloted in June. Although we all love our quiet island, there has to be a way to eventually open our economy to limited tourism.
Bold plans are required to bring tourism back
It’s too early to let tourists back into Hawaii, but it’s not too early to plan how it will be done. To avoid economic disaster, we cannot afford to wait until the pandemic is controlled in all parts of the world where our tourists originate. So we need a bold way to restart tourism while minimizing the risk of reintroducing the virus.
The safest approach might be to require COVID-19 testing for anyone wishing to come to Hawaii. But to avoid an overwhelming logjam at the airport and hotels, we could accept written documentation that a person has obtained a test with negative result within a week before their travel.
For those who still arrive without having been tested, a swab could be taken at the airport and the person required to quarantine overnight at an approved hotel, under strict supervision, until the test result is reported.
Testing isn’t solution to restarting tourism
In nearly all Hawaii plans and reports, there is no mention of the fact that the current COVID-19 test is extremely unreliable. It produces a false negative result as much as 30% of the time. That means 30% of the people who actually have COVID-19 come up negative on the test.
This was driven home to me by the fact that a close family member tested negative five times, yet had all the COVID-19 symptoms. She was very close to death at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Thank goodness as of right now she is recovering and soon will be let out of the hospital.
This unreliable test means that the plan to test people coming into Hawaii, before and after they get here, will lead to large spikes in new cases and deaths. The real debate needs to be how many unnecessarily ill people and deaths are acceptable to return our economy to one that is so dependent on tourism. That is the calculation we’re not talking about.
Banking emergency funds improper action
Hawaii residents are furious as it appears the Legislature has improperly redirected CARES Act funds intended for unemployed workers to the rainy day fund (“Despite urgent social needs, Hawaii legislators decide to bank state and federal funds,” Star- Advertiser, May 20).
It seems yet again legislators take money for purposes yet to be revealed and most likely will be used for pet programs and not for what it was intended. Someone should file a complaint with the federal Justice Department
Pub owner struggles without help, answers
I’ve operated four Irish pubs on Oahu for 22 years, paying all bills, payroll, landlords, city, state and federal taxes promptly with no debt.
The government closed us on March 18. I’m facing debt with Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans of perhaps $1.6 million with little hope of any promised forgiveness, with zero income.
I can’t open my pubs, can’t sell them, can’t realistically apply for a liquor license. I can’t bring my staff back to work because I can’t open. They can’t return to unemployment if I can’t open.
A lot of “can’ts” there, but the biggest can’t is: I can’t get an answer from anybody in government.
When can we open bars in their phases of recovery? Why are we not in the conversation?
Apparently I am being taxed without representation.
Asian Americans face epidemic of racism
Reports from the mainland about Asian Americans being subjected to racist attacks, including verbal and physical abuse because they are accused of bringing the pandemic to America, is disheartening. Growing fears over the disease have exacerbated racial bigotry against Asian Americans and breed racial division.
But what is really sickening is that many of the victims of these hate crimes are doctors and nurses of Asian descent who, without regard to their own safety, are throwing themselves on the front lines to help fellow Americans.
While the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on everyone’s life, Asian Americans also have to deal with another epidemic. It is called the virus of racism.
Perpetrators of these senseless racist attacks should stop and direct their efforts to coalescing with others in helping Americans in distress.
Rod Bagcal Catiggay
Honolulu mayoral candidates inadequate
Hawaii is now facing unprecedented economic challenges. With unemployment at 34% in some places, many local families face a frightening and uncertain future, something that will get worse over time. The next mayor of Honolulu needs to be a visionary with a proven ability to get things done.
All too often community leaders with no executive experience are elected into public office, but in this instance we cannot be swayed by empty promises and inaction. The challenges we face are too great, and we need a leader who is up to the task who has the demonstrated background of managing during a crisis.
Unfortunately the current crop of mayoral candidates do not measure up. Honolulu needs and deserves better.
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