Letters for Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Thanks for celebrating nurses

We wanted to thank you for running the Nurses Week insert (TGI May 3, 2020), and add an additional round of thanks from us.

For over 2 years we have been treated with the utmost care, respect and love from the nurses and Staff at the Oncology Dept at Wilcox, and especially by Rene and her excellent group at the Infusion Center. We can’t express how fortunate we are on Kaua’i to have access to the first rate, professional and always friendly experts taking care of so many critically ill kupuna and tourists every day.

Mahalo to Mickey, Darcy, Kathy, Carrie, Christina, Anne, Marlene and Tina – true heroes all!

Lucy Dickson and J.C. Crouch, Lihue

Great service with a masked smile

ONLY ON KAUAI. I recently purchased a car from a private party and filled out the paperwork supplied by First Hawaiian Bank to have the title transferred to me, the vehicle registered, and mailed the request to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Lihue. While in Lihue I received a cell call and pulled over into a parking lot to safely reply and a extremely nice female from the DMV advised me that I had not provided a check for the processing.

The clerk instructed me to drive to the DMV where she would meet me by the sidewalk near the entrance and with me in my vehicle and the employee on the opposite side of the vehicle the exchange took place. Good public service with a masked smile!

John Armour, Princeville

COVID-19 memory lane

What worked? Certainly the drastic steps taken in early March were successful in not just limited the virus but apparently eliminating it from Kauai. Initially little was known about the virus and their was a lot of fear, notwithstanding the WHO at one point telling the world that the virus could not be transmitted human-to-human.

Today, however, we are much wiser. For example, we know that the aged with underlying condition are the most at risk and thus taking extreme measures to protect nursing homes and assisted living facility are paramount. A large percentage of deaths not just in NY but around the country occurred in these facilities. Based on antibody testing which have shown a large number of asymptomatic cases,we now know that the actual death rate is closer to 0.1 to 0.3 percent, still serious but not so scary. And we also know that being outdoors, without a mask while social distancing is safe, unless of course an infected person sneezes in your face.

Given the advantage of hindsight we now know that many of the measures taken to control the virus, and which have caused sever economic damage to our economy, businesses and many individuals, were not necessary. We know, for example, that not only were our health care facilities not overwhelmed but that emergency room admittance’s were down over one-third in March and over one-half in April; traffic accidents were down 57%, etc. It is now clear, with the advantage of hindsight, that the restrictions initially put in place were overboard. Going forward the goal should not be to keep Kauai COVID-19 free but rather to take a reasoned and measured approach which restricts the virus while at the same time returns many of our freedoms. For example, any new cases should be vigorously followed up with quarantines and robust contact tracing. Clearly on Kauai such a reasoned and measured approach is coming too slow given what we now know. Some of the resent lifting of restrictions should have taken place weeks ago. Should a few cases show up on the island in the future we do not need to go back to a total lock down. The rest of the world is not taking that approach and to do so will ultimately destroy life as we know it.

Michael Zieman, Kapaa

Now’s the time to stop littering

Soon our fast food eateries will be in full swing with take out orders. Especially when we start to have visitors from around the world visiting Kauai, again. Since Covid-19 our highways have look somewhat cleaner. Is it because of less people on the highways? Since the stay home order/lockdown.

My point is, “will we start seeing trash such as reusable bags, paper cups, cans(beer and soda), etc. on the highways?” And will be seeing vehicle left on the side of the roads?

Don’t let the Garden Island be known as the “Garbbage Island!”

Howards Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

  1. james May 12, 2020 7:24 am Reply

    I’ve got to say my way of thinking about opening up Kauai has shifted. I’m more aligned with Michael Zieman’s way of thinking now than I was a week or two ago. I agree is time to open up Kauai to it’s residents, while keeping the lid on tourism. Wrist bracelets or quarantining in a central location with security will keep tourists or returning residents from spreading the virus as we reopen. I haven’t seen any viable medical evidence that, after more than a month of no cases here on Kauai, that the virus could be lurking in folks who have no symptoms but could still infect others. All scientific data points otherwise. Ige should allow our Mayor to immediately lift the sunbathing ban as a start. Then, allow non-essential businesses to open on May 15th with the proper precautions. Time to open Kauai fully to it’s residents.

  2. Janice May 12, 2020 9:14 am Reply

    THANK YOU for your well written words of wisdom Michael Zieman!! I hope you emailed this to the governor, mayor, and county council. They really need to hear from sensible people like you on a regular basis.

  3. billyjoebob May 12, 2020 10:38 am Reply

    Don’t be silly Howard, only tourists litter.

    1. Howard May 12, 2020 12:09 pm Reply

      Don’t be stupid, billyjoebob. “The letter was for everyone…including you!”

  4. Patrick Flores May 12, 2020 11:37 am Reply

    I walk the Kapaa Pathway most every morning from Kapaa Park north to Kealia Beach and back, the litter is still there even though the county provides trash cans and pick up service. Possibly some tourists litter but I am of the belief that a large percentage of the litter is locally generated. Each of us is responsible for our own actions and aware of right and wrong.
    Patrick Flores, Wailua Houselots

  5. Old Fart Haole May 12, 2020 11:38 am Reply

    Michael Zieman,

    What you write makes a lot of sense. Therefore, it probably won’t happen.

    But, it’s good to know there are some people out there that have not (yet) lost their minds over this.

  6. William Hackett May 12, 2020 11:52 am Reply

    To Michael Zieman,
    Unfortunately your facts and logic are flawed. The death rate for the CoronaVirus is 6-7% according to all legitimate published data. There is no legitimate published data on antibody test results. Wearing a mask in public is showing respect to those you come in contact with. To do otherwise is showing disrespect. Recent data from China shows much larger contamination range than 6 feet in an air conditioned room. With initial restrictions on Kauai You should be thankful that we managed to avoid the community transmission and resultant catastrophe we have seen in NYC. You fail to recognize that Kaua’i does not have the capacity in terms of testing, contact tracing, quarantine facilities, emergency room capacity, and first responders to handle such an outbreak. With respect to advocating quick relaxation of these restrictions, there are many counter examples throughout the mainland and the world that are showing the folly of this approach. History is repeating itself relative to the 1918 Spanish Flu and the much larger second outbreak as a result of early relaxation of restrictions. We don’t want that on Kauai!

    1. Michael Zieman May 13, 2020 6:58 am Reply

      Aloha William Hackett. My facts and logic are not flawed.

      Death Rate: The current death rate in the USA based on CONFIRMED CASES is 6% and if you take out NY City it drops to close to 5%. However, and as I clearly stated, if you factor in the results of antibody testing which shows the number of those people who are asymptomatic (they HAD THE VIRUS but had either very mild or no symptoms at all and thus were never tested) the number drops dramatically. For example consider, Santa Clara County CA where antibody testing showed people who had the virus were “50 to 85 times greater than the number of confirmed cases”. Similar testing in NY state shows those who had the virus were “more than 10 times the states confirmed cases”. Check it out for yourself.

      Masks Outdoors: I clear indicated masks were not needed “outdoors while social distancing”. I did not mention indoors in “air-conditioned rooms” which you fallaciously referenced. Google “masks outdoors” and you can read all about it.

      I do not understand those who intentionally misrepresent the facts or the science. Do they do this out of ignorance or are they trying to instill fear in others? As Churchill famously said, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Also, you need to be careful where you get your news from. For example, CNN and MSNBC carry a lot of distorted and outright false information so if that is all you listen to you are not getting truth.

      Lastly the negative health effects of the shutdown, intended to protect lives, are now coming home to roost, four suicide deaths report in one week on this island. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until you see the results of studies on the increases in domestic violence, child abuse, drug additions, chronic depression, etc.

    2. Michele Dillberg May 13, 2020 11:46 am Reply

      Dear William,
      I feel compelled to comment on your reply to Michael Zieman’s letter to TGI. I appreciate your heartfelt concerns, but hope to point out a broader perspective and an opportunity for a healthier (and happier) outcome for our blessed island.
      As you know, here on Kauai, we have had some of the lowest numbers of cases, very few instances of any severity, and no deaths. Current research and statistics point to sunlight being a great inhibitor of the virus and possible spread. It is also now known that staying indoors is not the safest place, and that the greatest number of cases that needed to be transferred to hospitals came from homes (even more than facilities for the aged or prisons).
      The “facts” you site listing a 6-7% death rate has been adjusted down several times, and will continue to be adjusted down as they account for more cases with further testing and continue to show that the greatest numbers actually experience slight or no symptoms. Keep watching the CDC website, and check in with the WHO to see the numbers continue to be adjusted.
      The greatest Covid fears were based on the possible overrun to our hospitals and medical gear. For this reason, it would be most helpful to have more specific stats on hospitalizations rather than the total number of cases. With that information, we would be better able to assess our healthcare resources. We can be thankful that, even in the epicenter (NYC specifically) the overflow hospitals were not populated, and were able to be dismantled in short time.
      Now, let’s look forward. What are our greatest fears at this juncture? Businesses failing, people unable to sustain their family’s needs, children not in school, the dreams of college dashed for many, financial collapse.
      Let’s be careful not to allow unfounded fear to cause us to make decisions that can harm our communities far more than this virus. Let’s look forward to find ways to reduce underlying health conditions (the greatest threat to virus patients), and encourage all of our residents to boost their immune function (for a long-lasting overall benefit).
      Overall, I believe that the people who are protesting our current restrictions (as I am one) do not intend to be disrespectful. We grieve for our island communities and the healthy-balanced lifestyle we truly believe we should have a right to resume. We don’t want our government to continue to support healthy able-bodied people to stay home and not work. We don’t want our children to give up on their dreams or their education.
      If you William, are at risk, or if you have a loved one who needs special precautions or care – please recognize that I believe that this should be supported. To be able to make support of that kind available to all that deserve it – we need to get back to work. For our health – we need to get back to play also! We need to be able to have a picnic at the beach and breathe deep in the sweet salt air. We need to stop focusing on fear.
      I wish you well, and hope that we all have brighter days ahead,
      Michele Dillberg

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