Staying alive more important than reopening economy

On this last day of April, I’m ready to shout,“Mayday!” — not referring to May Day as Lei Day here on the beautiful Garden Island, something we’ve always enjoyed, but in the old, wartime sense, referring to imminent danger.

Mayday! an English wordplay on the French word “m’aider” (help me), is the worldwide distress call via radio communications. Most everyone knows that the Mayday! call used around the world is a distress call transmitted via radio communications, usually on a ship or plane. Mayday! signals a life-threatening emergency; the procedure is to say it three times in a row. The alternate SOS distress call is typically a Morse code transmission via telegraph.

I’ve been flying under the radar since retiring from writing the “Green Flash” columns at the beginning of 2020, doing other work and obeying the social-distancing and stay-at-home rules since they went into effect. But here goes today, back to newsprint: My call of distress (re: island in life-threatening danger): Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! And SOS SOS SOS… about recent TGI page 1 headline news: “THE TEAM REOPENING KAUA‘I,” “Economic reboot” (leads on Wednesday, April 29); and today, Thursday, April 30, “RESTRUCTURING THE RULES.”

OK, I get it. Our mayor has been an excellent “father” to all his island kupuna, cohorts and children thus far, truly making sure by his mandates that we are kept as safe from the true threat of the coronavirus in the form it’s now taking in the illness known as COVID-19. He beat all the other mayors and Gov. Ige to the punch, and look at the results as reported: “Kaua`i Covid-19 Count, 0 Active cases, 21 Recovered returned home, 21 Total confirmed cases.”

Because of this health success, I also understand that it’s time to open up certain activities and businesses that serve our community needs and start people back toward normal island lifestyle — masked, that is. BUT… where is our critical thinking skill when it comes to opening up to visitors and tourism once again? Before we have an effective vaccine in hand? Since when is our economy more important that being coronavirus-free and staying alive?

A quick look at any newscast will show the wisdom behind the Kawakami mandates over the past weeks, part of which made sure that it was highly undesirable for visitors to consider come during the pandemic. Sure, this hurt, since their dollars feed our tourist economy “golden egg,” which supports many folks on this island. A small minority of folks by letter and demonstration balked at their freedoms having been illegally taken away. Somehow they missed the point of laying down emergency rules for the “greater good,” which went beyond the individual me-me-me-and-my-needs consciousness.

If someone really wants to learn more about the reality of the threat of developing COVID-19, an excellent NetFlix special explains the facts behind it. The documentary uses experts in their fields to report how the pandemic was a definite prediction based on knowledge, what’s being done to learn to deal with such viral attacks that “jump” from animals to humans, how the virus “works,” and the exponential factor charted once it finds the way to live within a human being and insure that it passes on to other humans as necessary hosts. You can learn a lot from visiting known U.S. “best” hospital websites such as the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins.

The documentary presents an interesting chart comparison from the early 20th century showing how the pandemic flu was stemmed vs. launched between the careful rules laid down in St. Louis, Mo., and the careless, late rules set in Philadelphia. Interesting, also, are the reports touching on the current around-the-clock race to develop a vaccine and stem the killing tide — similar to what happened when science and medicine learned how to halt or lessen killer influenzas, smallpox, tuberculosis and other attacking viruses by vaccination.

Now, with the idea that our state and our county are soon to reopen to visitors, I think of how the facts of St. Louis in the 1900s pandemic showed that when they let up their quarantine rules at one point deemed “safe,” then a second wave of illness began. Although that wave never peaked with the thousands of deaths experienced in Philadephia, it continued for many months longer, taking many lives even in its flattened charting.

Thinking critically, we on Kaua‘i are at that point now. I’m not usually a doomsday-predicting writer, however, opening up to visitors right now will no doubt bring on a repeat of such a devastating history, no matter the 14-day quarantine rules. These rules, undoubtedly, will be bent and broken, and they definitely can’t be enforced with the present structure existing in our community.

Think about it: Even if visitors are reported “on the loose” by conscientious hotel and grocery clerks or shop owners and private citizens, the cat will already be out of the bag, as the saying goes. Who knows how many opportunities may have occurred for spreading a latent germ — unknowingly, as the case may be — in the time between a visitor breaking quarantine and being apprehended?

Following this idea, I think of the couple who were reported for breaking quarantine and fined. They were warned at the airport to go straight to their lodging; next, while visiting a Lihu‘e grocery; and then again, while shopping in a Princeville grocery.

Ridiculous. If either were a carrier of the coronavirus, that germ might have been left on a restroom surface, grocery-cart handle or otherwise disseminated into the air before any kind of apprehension occurred. And, really, how can we who live here possibly expect someone arriving on a long flight transfer immediately to a 14-day quarantine and bypass human needs for food, drink and other needs such as drugstore supplies before holing up in their lodging? Not everyone’s heading to a hotel with room service. Also, take into account rental-car agents or taxi and Uber/Lyft drivers, food-service employees and store clerks, and room cleaners and other hotel and condo agents who of necessity come into contact with the visitors, even masked and somewhat distanced.

Until an effective vaccine is readily available here, as I see it, and unless we have a mandated visitor accommodation (an offshore ship “island,” such as in past history?) where all basic needs for them are provided — for a fitting cost, of course, there’s no way we can allow and loose visitors within our Kaua‘i community again without opening ourselves to a second devastating threat wave, a wave far more dangerous and life-snatching than that focused upon with our lifeguard association’s new, stepped-up promotion of beach/ocean safety warnings.

Like pilots who see themselves crashing, I’m calling out loud and clear, Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! SOS! to our decision-making leaders… HELP!

•••

Dawn Fraser Kawahara is a resident of Wailua Homesteads.

33 Comments
  1. DC May 4, 2020 2:09 am Reply

    What’s the name of the Netflix documentary that you’re using as a source? Did Kauai have a first wave? Can we be more scientific than emotional or economical driven in our decision making? Best of luck waiting for a vaccine.


  2. Lynette Brooks May 4, 2020 6:36 am Reply

    Something I haven’t seen about how to enforce a visitor quarantine would be to not let them rent a car until they have been here 14 days. Hotels would have to provide shuttles from the airport, and would also have to have basic supplies (toothbrushes, snacks, etc.) available for purchase and room delivery.


  3. Dawn Is Right May 4, 2020 6:59 am Reply

    Dawn this was a wonderful letter and I concur. Its like this. If people do not care if vulnerable people contact the virus, or bring it home to their vulnerable family members, then they are not respecting those peoples rights to not be infected. This will cause all vulnerable people to completely retire from life, and stay holed up in their homes because they would not be able to go out at all because no where would be safe for them, and it would be just a matter of time before the virus got into their noses or lungs, somehow very easily. In this circumstances, these people would either be extremely ill and need ventilators or die. Do you see a lot of obese people here? Why, yes you do. Are there a lot of people here who have high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes? Why, yes there are. All of these people would risk infection and death every time they went out of their homes.

    So, unless services are ramped up, such as complete at home delivery of groceries, food, and errand runners to help pay bills, take cars in to get safety inspections, get medicines, and do all of those things people may need and normally do for themselves, these people are completely helpless. There are thousands of people on Kauai with these underlying health conditions.

    If we open up restaurants, hair and nail salons, get rid of the curfew, let cruise ships and visitors from affected states in, do away with mask and social distancing, and do nothing to prevent the spread of Covid 19, I can guarantee you, we will have a disaster on our hands.

    The problem is, the Mayor did too good of a job. We haven’t had a death, and things have been curtained. Because of these actions, not because there isn’t a threat. There is a threat and it is very real. If this scenario happens, we have a very tiny health care system here, and a very few ventilators and staff. If that happens, people will most certainly die. Maybe that’s what it will take to wake people up. Who is willing to sacrifice themselves for this cause? Seriously. Let us not terrorize a significant amount of our population to make a few tourists and anti vaxxers happy.

    If you have a job that is low paying, your boss thinks covid is a hoax, and your friends and family don’t care at all and refuse to wear masks and social distance my advice is to find a different job, and move away from your ohana. Far away. Infringing on another persons right to life is not your right. you have the right to do whatever you want. You can not wear a mask or social distance, but once you move into someone else’s 6 feet of space, your rights end. Theirs kick in. Their right to life is more important that your need to infect everyone because you think it s a big hoax because you cant see it. You cant see God either but you believe. So believe in this too.

    Mahalo Dawn. You are the voice of reason in a storm of crap.


  4. Tony May 4, 2020 7:06 am Reply

    “Better Safe than Sorry!” With limited resources, living on a small and a preferred place for retirement seniors, a pandemic such as a Coronavirus will have a devastating effect on this island.

    It really is not a good idea to open the island for vacationing visitors. Think of how bad it got in New York and how much worse it would be here when we’re basically boxed in and nowhere to escape!


  5. Gordo May 4, 2020 7:11 am Reply

    Your article begs the question: How do we stop tourists from coming? We are not allowed to close the airport.


  6. nobody May 4, 2020 7:16 am Reply

    This pandemic will rapidly accelerate the already happening replacement of long time kamaaina residents with our new malahine residents. Kamaaina residents need to work to survive on Kauai, many with two jobs. Many malahine residents arrive on Kauai with “passive income”.

    Both kamaainas and malahines have one thing in common. They both want to “save” Kauai. The difference is kamaainas, in general, need to work and have a economy. This is where they clash.

    It’s sad to see kamaainas not realizing this and supporting an economy. They end up in Hawaiian clubs in Washington, Oregon and Vegas.


  7. Charlie Chimknee May 4, 2020 7:17 am Reply

    Aloha Dawn,

    It seems some people are living in the extreme of virus fear.

    Those sprinting to make the new Vaccine have their eyes set on the profits to be made by the next year after year annual Flu Shot for several billions of people. What a sale they will make with every flu season, Better Profits than all the past flu seasons; and people will still be getting sick and dying from the flu and the vaccine.

    But remember in spite of there being an existing seasonal Flu Shot, carrying Mercury and Formaldehyde and other toxins including virus, injected into your body, still with all those willing to take the risk of the flu shot, 650,000 people die each year from the regular seasonal flu worldwide, and more died in America from the regular flu than the CoVid-19 flu.

    650,000 deaths from seasonal flu far exceeds the dead from the CoVid-19 .

    And what about the Co-Epidemics we face every year in America and We ignore and do nothing about as to prevention, but only provide a waiting medical industry to give a mixture of prescription drugs, chemo-therapy, and radiation variously with Heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, diabetes, medical errors, vehicle accidents, tobacco, alcohol, and street drugs like the opiates overprescribed by the doctors causing continued addiction only affordable by switching to heroin, etc.

    The masks, appear to be loosely worn by most, and the masks are thin enough for the virus being 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair to pass right thru even tightly warn masks, though the masks do allow re-breathing of our lung excreted CO2 gas, along with lung excreted virus if you already have them. Masks, what a farce…!

    Social Separation only serves to separate people from virus exposure, immune response, and immune system immunity…and waiting in lines to check out the Novel mask your neighbors are wearing…look, that one has teeth…!

    Masks’ are really like a badge proudly worn that says, “I Will Obey”, just the way the capitalists hoping to capitalize on this crisis want you to be.

    Masks also indicates the wearer knows little to nothing about the immune system, the virus itself, the ongoing “pill for every ill” mentality, and the refusal to grow up and take care of ones own self, instead of burdening the rest of us with their collective Disease Care costs, While in this case costing the majority lost jobs, lost income, lost mortgage, lost education and graduation, lost marriage, lost opportunity, lost business, all for the Minority of people sick (1-2 %) unwilling to take responsibility for their health and put themselves ahead of us all, claiming, ME, ME, ME, ME take care of ME first, when they ignored taking care of themselves the majority of their life.

    Victims who died with the flu also had multiple end of life killer chronic degenerative diseases listed above, along with incredible amounts of pharmacy Prescription drugs, all with side effects including death (see TV ads). People are not dying exclusively of the CoVids-19 virus, they are dying from their disease condition, too much prescription drugs, and they happen to have the flu virus, just like the majority of the other 650,000 who die annually from the flu.

    No CHICKEN LITTLE, the Sky is not Falling, even though the media says so.

    Just get off your alcohol, tobacco, drugs, medical prescriptions, fast food, junk food, chemical food additives, Ag poisons, eating drug injected and otherwise medicated animals, sugar in every bite of food, candy, snacks, and sodas…and just give up these burdens on your organs and Immune System, ditch the Vaccine and your medicine cabinet contents full of drugs and anti-biotics,

    YES, UN-burden your Immune System and face reality so when viruses that can’t jump cross the 6’ social distancing separation, you will hopefully get some virus, called exposure, have an internal innate immune response by developing natural anti-virus exterminator cells, and then replicate and make billions of these same backup cells for future “2nd wave virus return” and no need the vaccine, relying on your Immune System instead, like God and Mother Nature intend.

    Those that are not sick and dying internally already, when they get the virus and immunity, they will have NO SYMPTOMS, or MILD SYMPTOMS, OR NEED ONLY BEDREST, proof their immune systems are functioning.

    The absurd almost sole use of drugs for medication is that those doctors using them are losing patients by death, when something so simple and inexpensive for its value, has the ability to overnight reduce the flu to a No Symptom or Mild Symptom status, it called WELLNESS FORMULA, containing NATURAL ingredients only, Vitamins including A, C, D-3, minerals zinc, selenium, copper, plant ingredients, and herbs. And it stops the flu. Found at some health food stores, and works better than medical drugs.

    It’s time, and not too late either, to get on the Natural Path of Life…be sure to get adequate amounts of daily SUN – WATER – AIR – REST- EXERCISE. These are ingredients of Health and in themselves promote ANTI-Disease…as is the list above of things not to put in your body.

    Fear of the Virus is really Fear of the Unknown, just the way the medical industry wants You to be.


    1. Weeds May 4, 2020 2:08 pm Reply

      Charlie would you please replace “Dr.” Fauci as soon as possible!!


    2. rk669 May 4, 2020 2:58 pm Reply

      Good,for Real Facts! But the Hair on Fire crowd won’t receive the Truth,they’re happy in their own Fearful Minds!
      I doubt Kauai will ever recover,thank you kowardkomi and guv iggy! How can we infect one another with something we don’t Have? That’s the Question!


    3. Malia May 4, 2020 8:04 pm Reply

      thank you for your sound logic and clear message. you have retained your patience during these times. I am losing mine.


  8. Bob May 4, 2020 7:42 am Reply

    Well, as a visitor to Kauai for the last 25 years I am really disappointed that the author does not care in the least about how without tourist dollars Kauai would suffer immensely.

    She stated she wanted to wait for a vaccine before allowing visitors to “her” island. As far as I am concerned and as long as Hawaii is part of the USA, citizens have a right to travel between states.

    I fully understand the lock down orders for a few months, but to take the viewpoint that Kauai should be in lock down for a year and a half until a vaccine is available is preposterous.


  9. mina May 4, 2020 7:47 am Reply

    We have to start being realistic about this virus. Kauai is a sheltered place far removed from the read devastating effects of this disease, and our isolation has created a false sense of security. Many people who haven’t had the virus think they’re bullet proof…until they get it. It is a devastating illness that can lead to permanent heart and lung damage, if it doesn’t outright kill you. Those who are demonstrating for their “rights” truly have only one motive: greed. They are not thinking about the lives and safety of their loved ones or themselves. It’s time to think of the COVID-19 as a mugger with his gun in your ribs, saying, “Your money or your life.” Are you really going think that option over?


    1. Malia May 4, 2020 8:19 pm Reply

      suicide, homicide, drug overdose, abuse of drugs, alcohol, physical and sexual abuse, and treatable illness that isn’t being addressed besides covid (also severe depression and mental instability), as well as starvation and hunger are killing millions of people in excess right now due to lock downs across the world. Go read Charlie’s comment above. Learn something. People protesting are protesting because we see ALL THE PEOPLE HURTING WHO ARE BEING IGNORED BY THE MEDIA and the MEDIA ECHOS – aka you. We are about to enter a great depression as a society if not the whole world. This will create mass dependence on government to supply our needs (and no, that’s not a good idea). So please, stop with the ignorance. You are more microbe (bacteria, virus, fungus) than your own cells. It’s called the microbiome, and you build immunity – exposing yourself to these things, your body learns to fight it, multiplies and now the virus lives dormant in you in a balanced coexistance with the rest of you (yes that is heavily simplified).

      Also, please educate yourself a little bit. The cases are bloated because tests aren’t required to claim covid on the death certificate (meaning you can get sick and die from anything else, but if you symptoms are like covid, they can write it on there without testing). On the other hand, you can die of cancer, but if you test positive for covid (even without symptoms) they will put it on the cert. There is so much messed up with whats happening, nurses in NY whistleblowing about total maltreatment going on, people being put on ventilators FAR too early, which is actually causing lung damage (Listen to Dr. Kyle Sydell from NY talk about this). We cannot trust MSM. Whether it’s CNN or Fox, or MSNBC…they’re all paying lip service to pharmaceutical companies (how many drug adds while watching the news?), and you need to seek out independent sources. See: the highwire with del bigtree, londonreal.tv as a starting point. Not side takers, just truth seekers. Be one of those. For humanity sake.


  10. Mark Tsukiyama May 4, 2020 7:48 am Reply

    What about the people who rely on tourism for their living? What do you say to them? The government can’t keep supporting the population. People need to be able to get back to work and provide for their families. For those who have retired or can retire now, well lucky for you. But for most people we need to work. Hawaii depends on tourism period.


  11. Ktown May 4, 2020 8:36 am Reply

    Your idea for a perpetual medical lockdown in unfeasible. The true threat of this virus is way less than what was previously thought. We can’t sustain the type of mandatory business close without great detriment of to the people of Kauai. While most herald the mayor as a savior of Kauai, the reality may be the destruction of many peoples livelihood and lifestyle. According to a recent study https://news.usc.edu/168987/antibody-testing-results-covid-19-infections-los-angeles-county/ the infection was much more widespread than previously believed. That means that the death rate is actually very low since testing is only done to people exhibiting symptoms and the majority of the population will be asymptomatic after exposure to this flu. If you are at risk it should your right to social distance and remain isolated. That is the definition of freedom. Deciding not to remain isolated and open your businesses up should be the kuleana of the individual as well as the public’s choice to support them. Nobody should be forced to do anything . Time will tell what will be the true extent of this virus. Sweden will be the best example of what happens when you do the opposite of what we did. Only time will tell. Believe the data not the hype. Feelings and opinions should not drive policy.


  12. Rick May 4, 2020 9:11 am Reply

    are you sure Bill Gates didn’t actually write this? What a load of crap.


  13. Doug May 4, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    I would agree that we need to be careful Dawn, but now that we are at a point where the virus seems to be contained and everyone here seems to be following the rules we need to take the next step and open the island to locals. People need to see reasonable steps taken when progress has been made, and reopening Kauai needs to happen slowly, starting now.


  14. manawai May 4, 2020 9:42 am Reply

    Easily said by someone who gets their pension checks regardless of the pandemic. Seems to be a division between those who are retired and those who are still earning a living.


  15. Eric C Stirrup May 4, 2020 10:13 am Reply

    Dawn, Perfectly stated couldn’t agree with your comments more wholeheartedly. As a frequent visitor with dear friends on Makana Rd. and Kalama Rd. staying healthy and alive takes precedent. We were supposed to spend April house sitting for our friends on Makana Rd. while they traveled to the mainland. We both agreed just days before Governor Ige implemented the mandatory 14 day quarantine, that their trip and our island stay was not going to happen. Respects and Aloha.


  16. Robert "Tito" Edwards May 4, 2020 10:43 am Reply

    Scratch a liberal and you get a totalitarian.

    What Benjamin Franklin said:

    Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. A.D. 1706-1790

    People are responsible enough to quarantine themselves. The government shouldn’t devolve to become a nanny-state.

    Stop the silliness.

    We are Americans, not Communists.


    1. montie May 4, 2020 2:18 pm Reply

      Right on, Ben!!!


    2. manongindashaow0711 May 4, 2020 3:57 pm Reply

      “Tito” Yes we are not Communist. However, there are those who listen to rules and there are those who don not listen. Like a selfish person they(the one that never listen) are, they would go out and spread the virus to anyone without a care!


  17. Malia May 4, 2020 11:39 am Reply

    This article is COMPLETELY IGNORING the fact that millions of people are in desperate situations around this country, including DEADLY situations, including physical, sexual, drug & alcohol abuses, severe anxiety and depression leading to SUICIDE. Hunger here and around the world….in case you missed it reuters explained that hundred of thousands of children will be dying from hunger (more than usual) around the world due to this lockdown. Tons of people are not getting the other medical care they need and/or are scared to go to the hospital therefore dying from unnecessary neglect. One economic book from the 80s discusses ever 1% increase in unemployment leads to 37,000excess deaths for all reasons. This is without the quarantine isolation factors, or the lack of medical services, meaning that number would be higher in these circumstances. ALSO we are already looking at 25-30% increase currently. DO THE MATH. We are looking at way over a million deaths due to this lock down, and already seeing it.

    A VACCINE??!?!! are you kidding?!? we have a flu vaccine and still lose 45-80K/year depending on the intensity of that year’s strains. Vaccines have never been a surefire answer, and NOT ONLY do they often come with liability-free consequences and injuries for some, and those are for vaccines that have gone through YEARS of trials. Now we’re talking about a FAST TRACKED vaccine on a strain of virus that has not been able to create an effective vaccine in previous trials (because it harmed or killed animals & children in the trials) and were shut down. (on other coronavirus/RSV viruses). OPEN YOUR EYES.

    And you know what Garden Island? I don’t know what type of censorship you are currently getting involved in, but you haven’t been approving comments, and you’ve been shifting articles that are critical of the lockdown into your impossible-to-find-website archives after 1 day. SHAME. THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE AND ALL SIDES NEED TO BE CONSIDERED. IF YOU DO NOT ALLOW VOICES TO BE HEARD REGARDING THOSE HURTING FROM THE LOCKDOWN, THEIR BLOOD WILL BE ON YOUR HANDS.


    1. Debra Kekaualua May 7, 2020 7:10 pm Reply

      mAhalo Malia! The last paragraph in your comment is so ON-point. No freedom of speech or freedom of the press. It is always the same-o “guests”, and the dismissal rate of opinions that are wide open appropriate to share are never published to Kauaians. There has been a major disconnect interruption of what is breaking the law and fake news coverages that doesn’t begin to touch on the reality and dozens of issues. For Example, The 127-year War america has made with the Hawaiian Kingdom and the nationals that are strategizing. Soon, we will implement the 90-day Exit strategy including pass-fail testing to assure you belong here or are sent back to where you hail from.

      GAME OVER. Hawaii is Closed!


  18. Colin McCleod May 4, 2020 2:04 pm Reply

    “Staying alive more important than reopening economy”
    So, Dawn, perhaps you’d care to elaborate on how people are supposed to “stay alive” with no income or means of support. Heck the state unemployment funds are already nearly depleted. Shall we all turn into welfare cases?
    You need to come to terms with the fact that the world is a risky place…
    Colin McCleod


  19. rk669 May 4, 2020 2:47 pm Reply

    Elections are on the way,will guv iggy or kowardkami get Relected?


  20. RSW May 4, 2020 3:02 pm Reply

    Dawn and those in general agreement with her sentiments: Here is the essence of a piece written by economist Ryan W. McMaken. It may help you sort through your thoughts and gain an understanding of the unforeseen consequences of the political decisions to which we are currently being subjected.

    “The Cost of Unemployment: A Survey of the Research

    According to a 2014 piece in Harvard Public Health magazine, unemployment due to business closures

    increased by 83 percent the odds of new health conditions likely triggered by job loss—stress-related conditions such as stroke, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and emotional and psychiatric problems.

    The risk of death increased:

    A 2011 meta-analysis of international research—published in Social Science & Medicine by David Roelfs, Eran Shor, Karina Davidson, and Joseph Schwartz—found that the risk of death was 63 percent higher during the study periods among those who experienced unemployment than among those who did not, after adjusting for age and other variables.

    And for men the impacts are often worse:

    A 2009 study on the impact of the 1980s oil crisis and subsequent recession in Pennsylvania, published by economists Daniel Sullivan and Till von Wachter in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that in the year after men lost their jobs in mass layoffs, their chances of dying doubled.

    In a study of the effect of economic growth in morbidity in the twentieth century, M. Harvey Brenner writes in the International Journal of Epidemiology that

    the large and growing literature on unemployment and health is highly consistent in demonstrating elevated morbidity and mortality associated with unemployment and withdrawal from the labour force….

    The literature on the long-term unemployed also shows increased exposure to alcoholism and use of other psychotropic substances such as tobacco and less expensive/nutritious foods. Equally important, the long-term unemployed are especially at risk for damaged family and friendship relations, quite apart from the social isolation induced by the loss of employment itself.

    In this 2003 study on unemployment in the Journal of Health Economics, the authors concluded:

    Unemployment increases the risk of being dead from 5.36 to 7.83%, i.e. an increased risk of 46%.

    For mortality from [noncancer and cardiovascular causes] unemployment leads to more than a doubling of the risk, and this effect is significant. Also for suicides the estimated effect of unemployment is significant, and the point estimate implies that unemployment increases the risk of suicides by 145%.

    The health effects of unemployment also become worse the earlier in the cycle one becomes unemployed. In a Finnish study on unemployment, Pekka Martikainen found that

    Men unemployed for the first time in 1990, 1991 or 1992 had, respectively, 111,72 and 35 per cent higher standardized mortality than did men who remained employed

    In other words, those who became unemployed first—i.e., in 1990—had higher mortality than those who became jobless in later years. But the general conclusion was familiar. Mortality increased sizeably for those who became unemployed:

    excess mortality of 47 per cent was observed among men unemployed or working part-time for reasons other than illness after adjustment for age, geographic region, social class, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, weight and known pre-existing disease.

    Moreover the long-term effects can be significant. In a Swedish study on the long term effect of unemployment, the researchers found that

    Alcohol-related mortality was significantly raised among both men and women who had experienced unemployment.

    For men, the risk of alcohol-related death was more than double what it was for the employed. The risk was nearly double for women. The same study also showed that for men who had suffered unemployment, long-term risk of death from suicide was more than 40 percent higher than the employed. Even the risk of death from “transport accidents” became higher following bouts of unemployment.

    The authors conclude:

    At the very least, unemployment has taken its mortality toll among a vulnerable segment of the population, particularly among young men, unmarried men and men of low education or income.

    Even worse, the effects of unemployment tend to be magnified by previous periods of unemployment, since “The risk of becoming unemployed is higher among people who have previous experience of unemployment. This has been referred to as ‘scarring’, ‘path dependency’ or ‘state dependency.’”

    This increases the health effects of unemployment among the most economically disadvantaged groups.

    Not surprisingly, increased unemployment also increases the risk of death from drug-related causes as well. In this 2017 study,

    the researchers find that a one percentage point increase in the county unemployment rate is associated with an additional 0.2 opioid-involved drug-related deaths per 100,000 county residents, a 3.6 percent increase relative to the average rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000. Similarly, there is a 3.3 percent increase in the rate of all drug-related deaths. For ED [emergency department] visits, a one percentage point rise in the county unemployment rate is linked to an additional 0.95 opioid overdose ED visits per 100,000 residents, a 7.0 percent increase.

    Studies have now started to be published on our current recession. Although not directly studying unemployment, a new study of Swiss data on the mental health–related “consequences of COVID-19 mitigation” (i.e., economic lockdowns) the authors concluded:

    The study projects that the average person would suffer 0.205 YLL [years of life lost] due to psychosocial consequence of COVID-19 mitigation measures. However, this loss would be entirely borne by 2.1% of the population, who will suffer an average 9.79 YLL….The results presented here are likely to underestimate the true impact of the mitigation strategies on YLL.

    In other words, the “mitigation” strategies that allegedly save lives are really just shifting the burden from some people onto to others. In some cases, the lockdowns amount to nearly a decade of lost years thanks to the toll on mental health.

    Confronted with the likely costs of their lockdown policies, many will fall back on claiming basic arithmetic can give us the answer. “How many deaths are caused by unemployment versus by COVID-19?” This claim is premised on the idea that it’s up to the defenders of freedom to prove that the number of deaths caused by economic destruction will outnumber the total COVID-19 deaths. In the minds of the lockdown advocates, if the net number of lives saved by continued lockdown is even a single person, then their policies throwing freedom and the rule of law under the bus are totally justified.

    They get it wrong, of course. The burden of proof is on them. After all, they are the ones advocating for violence. That is, they are the ones who want to impose fines on nonviolent people who just want to open their shops, or go to work, or sell their labor for wages. If those people don’t comply, the prolockdown position is that these “disobedient” people must then be locked in cages or ruined financially through fines, lawsuits, and criminal charges.

    The opponents of the lockdowns, on the other hand, only wish to allow people to exercise their freedom.

    The burden of proof lies on those who wish to use police powers to coerce others.

    Moreover, the truth is that the “experts” have no idea how much the lockdowns are even preventing the spread of disease or how employment and economic growth would be affected in the absence of coerced lockdowns. The lockdown proponents simply don’t have enough data to make the case for their position. They only know they desire to force people to abandon their jobs, abandon their shops, and indefinitely embrace a life on the dole. As a result, many will kill themselves. Many will overdose on drugs.”


  21. WestsideResident May 4, 2020 4:53 pm Reply

    Ok, let the jobs on Kauai disappear. More mainland wealthy can just come in and settle down.

    Maybe it is better that way.


  22. Jeff S. May 4, 2020 8:00 pm Reply

    I’ve read a lot of articles posted on this site relating to Covid and this has to be the most ridiculous one yet! STOP living in fear. You all should re-read Mr. Chimpknee’s response. Well done sir.


  23. KauaiFarmMan May 5, 2020 6:50 am Reply

    Vaccine? Yeah right . Let’s wait for something that might never happen. Because we can prevent every virus from a vaccine right. Glad I got my HIV, herpes, and syphililis vaccine. Oops they don’t exist. 99% of deaths in US and Italy have been from people with 1-4 pre existing conditions. 20% of US deaths have been in nursing homes. We will all be starving for a virus that only kills the sick and weak, Just like most other viruses. Anyone who tests positive for covid 19 that dies from any cause within 28 days of a positive test is recorded as covid death. You all willing gave away your freedom and livelihoods for a virus that kills .03%, making the flu more deadly. This is a sham and all you scared sheep will be starving to death and killing yourselves from the fallout of this atrocity.


  24. james May 5, 2020 7:28 am Reply

    I don’t see why we can’t do both: stay safe AND re-open the economy, at least partially. Since it’s highly doubtful that we have contagious residents after 2 cycles of no new cases, the wild card are visitors: guests and returning residents, who may bring in the virus. If a better, more stringent policy of quarantine were in place, Kauai could re-open today fully without fear of a “second wave”. What’s more important: re-opening Kauai now or appeasing travelers and the tourist industry? Yes, we will not have the tourist jobs and dollars, at least for now, but why not open the rest of our Island and let those not involved in tourism get back to work and normalcy? Why have the curfew and the lockdown if it’s not necessary for our health and safety? Fix the quarantine issue and re-open now.


  25. rk669 May 5, 2020 2:35 pm Reply

    Impeach Iggy and Kawakmi,let’s get back to Work! We need to pay rent and put Food on our tables to feed our families!
    Iggy needs to get the online unemployment insurance claims working correctly! Get it Fixed Govner! Now,so we can feed our kids, are you still drawing a salary. Shameless &Worthless Politicians !


  26. Dorkus May 7, 2020 7:40 am Reply

    The U.N. estimates over 130 million people will die of starvation due to the economic shutdown and food supply line disruption.


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