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Letters for Thursday, April 9, 2020

Here’s how to tighten up checkpoints


For a more effective road check, post 1 or 2 squad cars on the return (opposite) side of the road, 1/2 – 1 mile back to catch those who are evading the road check and turning around to go back to where they came from. This would be much more effective in catching those breaking the quarantine. I expect there are many, out for a joy ride, potentially infecting the rest of us…


Bill Hackett, Kalaheo

We need to prepare additional safety measures to reopen our economy

I want to thank Mayor Kawakami and our state leaders for urging everyone to wear masks this past week. Any reduction in the spread of the virus will have a huge effect. I urge our leaders to try to persuade other states to do the same. Their battle against Covid-19 directly affects us and our tourism industry.

Shutting down all non-essential businesses has been helpful to flatten the curve to keep hospital care available and buy us time. However, the virus may be threat for a year or two. It would be devastating to close our businesses for a year or two.

We need to use this time to figure out how we can reopen things. A huge factor is masks. Any mask will help, but the better the mask, the better the outcome. Maybe we should step it up and get everyone equipped with N95 masks. These will take time to produce, but it could be done.

I think we should also seriously consider copper. I’ve heard that copper kills 99.9% of these microbes in two to four hours. It is safe and inexpensive. I covered my steering wheel and door handles with adhesive copper foil. Anything that people touch in public places (door handles, shopping cart handles, check-out counters, etc.) could be covered with copper foil. In the long-term, these surfaces could be permanently replaced by copper (or brass or bronze, which also contain copper).

I would also suggest the consideration of anti-microbial gloves. These gloves could be mass produced to be used by everyone in public places. They could have an outer layer with a high percentage of fine copper fibers blended with cotton and an inner layer of cotton for comfort. Imagine if everything you touch is touched by copper which begins killing the virus. Imagine if your gloves automatically disinfect themselves every couple of hours. Anti-microbial fibers could also be added to face masks, to improve their performance.

Clear shields are being used in public places, which will also help. There are surely many other good ideas. Maybe something could be done with UV light, which kills viruses, but is not as safe for us as copper.

As I reported in my opinion printed March 31st, the Japanese slowed the growth of the virus by over 100-fold over two months by using cheap masks. Their 8.5% daily spread rate was close to the virus break-even point of 7%, that it needs to replace itself. With better masks and/or additional safety measures, it is likely that we could open more businesses and yet stay below the 7% break-even point. If it starts to spread faster than 7%, we could shut things down again and/or add additional safety measures.

Currently, the average daily active Covid-19 spread in the U.S. over the past two days (4/6 & 4/7) has been 10%. This is better than before, but still higher than the 7% break-even point. For Hawaii, this number is 6.3%. Considering that most cases in Hawaii are imported, our daily community spread is only around 2%, which means we are winning the war against the virus in Hawaii.

Thanks again Mayor, for your strong leadership. I encourage our County and our State leaders to aggressively develop a combination of strong tools that will allow us to safely reopen our businesses at some point.

Mark Beeksma, Koloa

Lessons for the next generation

In this time of great change and turmoil, I understand how we are all holed up in our homes going stir-crazy. We’re distant from our loved ones. We’ve lost a job, (or two or three), money, income, home. We’re told to keep away from kissing, monster hugs, intimacy. We’ve had to change our normal routines, our fellowship and worship. Parents are homeschooling for the first time. People are depressed, anxious and worried sick. I could go on and on. We’re desperate for simple things in life like a picnic, massage, manicure, pedicure, hair appt., gym workout, shopping for shoes, a beach day, a staycation. And yes, even medicine and surgical supplies, which has become a luxury!

Yet with all this going on in our communities, why can’t we try to have more unconditional love for one another and stop all the negativity, angriness, self-centeredness, greediness, impatience and lack of compassion. Plain and simple: LOVE!!! Unfortunately, it is happening all around us. Wake up everyone and be NICE! Who knows, it might be the last time you see or talk to that person!

Practice paying-it-forward, sharing, loving, forgiveness. RESPECT ONE ANOTHER! Stop looking into “what’s in it for me,” like hording, rudeness and pushy behavior at your local grocery store, pharmacy or wherever.

Good God, what’s happened to our 21st Century society already!? God is changing history as we live it. Nothing will be the same again. Get on board and change our world for a better society, a better place! Let’s teach the next generation about love, compassion, empathy, patience, respect.

Carol Simon, Lihue

  1. Jjjames April 9, 2020 9:27 am Reply

    Carol, you left out CONSIDERATION. Think about how your actions, and the things you allow to happen around you effect others near or around you.

  2. Mark Beeksma April 9, 2020 11:52 am Reply

    More ideas about UV lights: Large UV lights in public places could be set to automatically turn on at night to disinfected everything the UV light touches (after everyone leaves). Or, if necessary, stores could be closed a few times each day, emptied of people, and bathed in UV light. Restaurants could be bathed in UV lights between every mealtime. There is also a small band of frequency of UV light that apparently still kills viruses but does not hurt people. That claim could be studied further. If it worked, we would not have to keep people away from the UV light.

  3. Mark Beeksma April 9, 2020 11:57 am Reply

    Another thought, when we get ready to start opening businesses, we would not need to open everything at once. We could find a fair way to gradually open businesses. Maybe it would be based on a randomized code that decides who opens first. The virus spread would be monitored to make sure it stays below 7%, before more businesses are opened. If the spread gets too high, we start closing businesses again.

    1. Michael Mann April 9, 2020 9:54 pm Reply

      I have to say that I am THRILLED to read something from Mark Beeksma which doesn’t cause my head to explode out of frustration. What just happened????

      Mr. Beeksma, your comments FINALLY contain some information that is actually based on real and even SCIENTIFIC principles. I honestly never thought I would see the day! I’m very sorry if this doesn’t sound like a compliment..I really mean it to be, but I am also in a state of shock.

      On this point about doing phased reopenings of businesses, as you state, this would only have a chance of working if we actually had monitoring and if people would accept the concept of phased reopenings. The problem is that we don’t have that at the moment. We definitely have no clue how many people are infected or carrying the virus asymptomatically. Until we get to such a point, we simply can not seriously entertain the thought of opening things back up. I believe that statewide, only about 1500 people have been tested. But as there are already people who are likening the shutdowns to fascism, I am certain there will be people who will claim things are not being done fairly. I’m definitely not averse to the overall idea, though.

      I particularly like the thought behind using the natural antimicrobial properties of copper to make useful items to help fight microbial agents. One thing I can think of that might prevent the use of such in hospitals, particularly in gloves, is the potential danger of copper getting into patients. Although copper is a necessary trace element in our bodies, there are dangers associated with too much copper. You would almost certainly want to have small particles containing copper embeded in the glove in such a way that you have a good chance of contact between the copper and the pathogens, but also allow the gloves to provide mobility. But the copper has to stay in the glove.

      Also, from an aesthetics point of view, copper as a larger surface (like a tabletop, handrail, etc.) can look dirty and old (antique) over time, once it starts oxidixing. I don’t think it is a look that most hospitals are going for nowadays, but perhaps there are alloys which would provide the right aesthetic appeal and maintain the antimicrobial efficacy. Perhaps one could also develop some kind of surface treatment to apply to an existing surface that would provide that copper protection, but you’d also have to ensure against accidental ingestion of excess copper from such surfaces.

      I do supect, however, that the price of copper would artificially go through the roof .

    2. Citizen Cane April 10, 2020 3:40 am Reply

      Mark, PPE would be just one component—however, broad testing coupled with aggressive contact tracing would be needed to spearhead any thorough effort. But then you’re still talking about restarting a LOCAL economy—that only gets us so far for so long. It appears that much of the rest of the country and even Oahu for that matter will lag behind Kauai’s comeback. So where will our main economic driver—ie. visitor dollars—come from? Well that’s where we work with the airlines and port authorities to establish rapid testing protocols to enable a gradual flow of screened visitors. Then we can little by little begin to restart the economic engine that drives and supports, in one way or the other, every business on Kauai.

  4. John Zwiebel April 10, 2020 6:24 pm Reply

    If the mayor is closing down all the timeshares and visitor accommodations, why is Hawaiian Air still flying people who are not Hawaii residents to the Islands?

    Why doesn’t Hawaiian Air enforce social distancing by not filling in the center seat on the airplane? (Unless it is a family traveling together, of course)

  5. Everythingisawesome April 11, 2020 7:52 am Reply

    Dear Mark, and anyone else willing to listen to reason,
    I just want to ask a question. Unfortunately there isn’t an unbiased way to ask it; Do you think there have been only 19 cases of this virus on Kauai?
    Consider the number of visitors (potential carriers) to this island between October and mid March when social distancing was implemented. It’s probably over 3 MILLION visitors. THREE MILLION. Most of them arriving by plane. Most of them coming through a crowded dirty (medically speaking) airport on Honolulu. Most of them in a confined airplane cabin with potential carriers for a minimum of 5 hours to get here. No social distancing. No masks. No gloves. No special plane cleaning procedures between flights. Breathing the same air. ALL of those people having contact with other people at the airport, the grocery store, the spa, coffee company gift shop, god-forbid McDonalds, Starbucks, Costco, car rental counter, gas station, restaurants, the hotel staff, shuttle bus drivers, baggage handlers handling contaminated baggage, tips being given with contaminated money. Touching the same touch screens, etc. The north shore beaches were PACKED in December. The shuttle to Ke’e was PACKED all day long. Residents leaving the island for CNY. Residents traveling to the mainland for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, School, Super Bowl and other bowl games. ALL of this going on between October 2019 and March 2020. If this virus is as contagious as scientists say, and I will conceed that it might be, do you really think there has only been 1 case on Kauai that can’t be traced to travel? Ask the cashier at Vim and Vigor if there was an uptick in people seeking flu and cold relief at the end of last year. Maybe that happens every year. Keep in mind, no social distancing implemented until mid March. It’s called COVID-19 in part because it started making the rounds in 2019. There is NO LOGICAL way this island avoided infections until March of 2020. NOT POSSIBLE. The difference? Now there is a test that can tell you if you’ve got it. Maybe pneumonia just has a hard time taking people out on this island. Maybe that’s why our hospital only needs 14 (or whatever) ventilators. Maybe people on Kauai take better care of themselves with juice cleanses or whatever. Lots of maybes as to why we aren’t all in the hospital, but, consider the first couple diagnosed on the island that came from California through Maui. No social distancing or masks on their part for their first few days here…yet no detected rampant spread of the virus and it wasn’t because of social distancing, washing hands or wearing masks. A resident returned from NY who was not only infected, but SHOWING SYMPTOMS, several airports and several airplanes and there was still no detected spread.

    It can easily be argued that the number of confirmed cases in the US has gone up ONLY because there is now a test. How many people die everyday in NY during flu season? Probably about the same as now. What about the bodies piling up? Normally, you can have a funeral for your loved ones but social distancing has changed that whole process. Want to say a final goodbye to Grandma? You’ll have to wait.
    I could go on but I’ve probably lost most of you by this point.
    I will say this, we’ve turned our world upside down in order to close the proverbial barn door and I would bet my life that the cow got out MONTHS ago. I’ll take my mask off now, thanks.

    Governor Ige, Mayor Kawakami and Officer Berreman, your well intentioned, yet ineffective precautions are only causing fear, panic and distrust. How can I call them ‘ineffective’? Empirical evidence. The virus was present and not overloading your healthcare system long before you implemented social distancing, quarantines, travel bans and masks.

    And for gosh-sakes people, wash your hands!

  6. Everythingisawesome April 11, 2020 10:12 am Reply

    Correction: 3 million visitors to Hawaii. Probably 300,000 to Kauai. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, 124,486 in December. This doesn’t negate my points: The virus was here prior to mid March 2020 and the healthcare system was not overloaded even without mitigation measures in place.

  7. Mark Beeksma April 11, 2020 11:53 am Reply

    Unfortunately, the active cases daily growth rate has stayed around 10% in the U.S. for the past two days since I wrote this. This means a net daily growth for the virus of 3% per day. The active daily growth in Hawaii averaged 5.6% per day for the past 3 days. This is below the 7% break-even point. This means that Hawaii is still winning, even though half or more of our cases are imported. I think these active daily growth numbers should be publicized nationally for every state. It would be good to include this as part of Trump’s daily report, so we all see which states are losing and which states are winning. They do talk about the total number infected, but that is based on the past. The daily active spread rate tells us what is going on now. Those who are losing need to step it up with more face masks and more social distancing. Those who are winning can consider what they can safely open up again.

    1. Everythingisawesome April 11, 2020 5:15 pm Reply

      Mark, no offence, we don’t know the growth rate because we are only testing those with symptoms and even then we are limited by the number of tests that can be run. The increase in testing throughput is what you are seeing, not the rate of growth of infections.

    2. Everythingisawesome April 11, 2020 5:23 pm Reply

      Likewise, we can’t use the deaths attributed to the virus as a valid metric because not all the deaths are confirmed to have the virus, Dr. Birx own words that if you die and the symptoms fit it is considered a covid death regardless of if you were tested. Additionally, if you test positive for the virus and have final stage cancer or a stroke you are included as a covid death. Not my words, the words of the federal team.

    3. Everythingisawesome April 11, 2020 6:30 pm Reply

      One good thing that’s come out of this is as soon as I heard that all covid-19 related services would be paid for by the federal government I told my primary care physician that the virus was making my vision blurry. Eye exam and new contacts, courtesy of the federal government because it was caused by covid. Not really, but do you see the potential conflict of interest? Full payment guaranteed if it’s covid related.

  8. Mark Beeksma April 11, 2020 12:01 pm Reply

    If Hawaii’s growth stays under 7%, the number of active cases (new in the past 14 days) in Hawaii peaked yesterday at 345.
    Nationwide, if the net growth stays at 3%, that means the total number of active cases would continue to double every 24 days. This is not good.

  9. Crazyonyahibiscus April 11, 2020 3:29 pm Reply

    To all of you. There is only one way to break the cycle. Stay home. I am not thrilled with Mr. Beezma, as he is touting silly unconfirmed and ridiculous ideas based on Trumpian talking points, and trumps desire to work everyone to death, literally so his damned perfect wonderful economy can keep flowing. Nothing is going to open up right now, so live with it, and get used to it.
    All the whining, and crazy harebrained insubstantiated “ideas” Mark has floating around in his head, are in a nutshell not based on science, ridiculous in the extreme, undoable, as we have no manufacturing options on kauai to make any of this stuff, copper is so rare here people rip it out of public bathrooms to sell., it. Completely tone deaf.
    We need to test, stay home and keep social distancing. The masks are not going to help you much they are made for short term exposure. N95 masks are priority for our healthcare workers. What in the general heck is wrong with you people?
    Why must you be out and about? Are you an essential worker? Great. I have news for you. Your overlord, Trump just declared that your bosses do not have to tell anyone if you have the virus. yup. That just came out today. So you will go to work infect everyone, and you can just keep it you and your bosses little secret.
    That way the boss doesn’t have to pay workman’s comp, while making you work until you drop. Literally. Also he gets all of the benefits that are going to pour his way. he doesn’t have to give you gloves or a mask.
    The only way you are going to get help is if you go to a hospital and test positive and your symptoms become so dire that it is discovered you have the virus. This absolves your boss from any liability to your health safety and welfare.This is true, people.
    It happened today. This came down from the labor department, and OSHA. OSHA, who used to protect workers has been hijacked by trumps anti federal government militia who is hell bent on destroying the federal government. Placing people in key positions whose mission, should they choose to except it is to do the polar opposite of what it is supposed to do.
    Hawaii is a huge union state, and so if OSHA is now bending to trump because he appointed a complete idiot to run it, what will you, now the worker do? You will have no recourse. Your only choice is to let the virus go so far to where you cannot work anymore. Your boss will then not tell the feds about it. That is trumps ruling on it. Yes.
    Thank god we have Mayor Kawakami,l who will soon be elected the duly appointed by the people to be Hawaii’s next Governor. And all you silly posting about copper and uv lights? Please, take that to Fox News. It has no place here. please with the incessant whining and complaining about how you want to open things up.
    The bosses here are all from the mainland or Oahu and half the workforce is from Oahu. Send everyone back where they came from. We will start again, the Kauai way like we always did before. We were independent then, we can do it again. We march to our own drum. Beezma and others would be quite comfortable in a red state. Please go there and support your copper and uv light ideas. They are completely impractical for Kauai. Where do you plan on manufacturing these things? We have no manufacturing facilities, nor supplies, nor a workforce capable of producing any of your ideas.

    Follow the Mayors advice. And kuli ka wa’a about opening anything up and getting back to work ala trumps agenda. 2,000 Americans died in one night last night. And you want to open things up? America has three times the infection rate of any country in the world so far, and has surpassed Italy in deaths. And we aren’t even in the thick oif it yet. Please, gentlemen. Sit down. And hush.

    Problem is, you guys only read this newspaper. Try reading something else, to get the real news. You only get the sanitized version here. open your eyes and your minds. Have some common sense. Sheesh!

  10. truth be known April 12, 2020 12:11 pm Reply

    Here is a slice of real news. While the US media is blasting us with total deaths, below I have listed the death rate per 1 million population which gives a more realistic picture of how we stand in relation to the rest of the world.

    UPDATED 04/12/2020


    San Marino 1032
    Spain 355
    Andorra 337
    Italy 322
    Belgium 289
    France 212
    Sint Maarten 210
    United Kingdom 145
    Netherlands 154
    Switzerland 120
    Luxembourg 99
    USA 62

    Total cases worldwide
    Total deaths worldwide
    6.1% worldwide average death rate
    The USA ranks 12th in death rates per 1 million population by country.

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