Letters for Friday, May 15, 2020

Japan shows it is all about the face masks

Early on, Japan had more cases of Covid-19 than the U.S. Yet, while the U.S. has reported 81,771 deaths, Japan has only reported 621 deaths. While Japan is 39% of our population, it has had only 1% of our Covid-19 deaths.

Meanwhile, Japan kept its economy open. U.S. unemployment spiked from 3.5% in February to 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. Japan’s unemployment roses from 2.4% in February to 2.5% in March to an estimate of 3.2% in April. Japan’s two-month loss of jobs is estimated at only 0.8%, while ours was 11.2%.

What is going on? What is their magic formula? Japan has kept their businesses open and still has only a tiny fraction of our Covid-19 deaths. The difference is face masks. Almost everyone in Japan wore face masks in public, starting in January. For this reason, the virus was not able to spread widely. Also, because the Japanese understand that face masks work, they knew it was not necessary to close their economy.

An exception to Japan’s stellar track record was the Sakura (cherry-blossom) festivals. This important cultural festival celebrates the beauty and brevity of life. Face masks would interfere with the vibe. Our son who lives there told us that very few people wore face masks during Sakura. Sure enough, in the following days, there was a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The recent deaths indicate that Covid-19 infections are now declining in the U.S., with a half-life of around 40 days. In Japan, even as they are open for business, Covid-19 is currently declining about twice as fast as the U.S.

Japan has demonstrated that it is all about the face masks. We have shut down ten times as much of our economy, yet Japan has been far more effective in limiting the virus.

If Covid-19 still exists when the flu season picks up again next winter, we can follow the example of the Japanese. They kept working, yet they also kept the Covid-19 impact minimal by wearing masks.

The U.S. now has the added benefit of herd immunity. During the peak of the flu season, Japan kept the daily growth of Covid-19 to 8.5% per day. With a 20% herd immunity in the U.S. (as a study in New York indicated), it would cut this number from 8.5% to 6.8%, which is below the Covid-19 virus break-even rate of 7.1%.

Covid-19 during next year’s flu season could be a Catch-22. If we all wear face masks, it would not come back. If it does not come back, we would not wear face masks. The solution is that if Covid-19 starts to spread, we should all put on our face masks again.

Like the Japanese, the people of Kauai have been faithfully wearing masks. We can also follow their example by opening our businesses, including restaurants. Since no one on Kauai currently has Covid-19, we have even more reason to get back to work.

Mark Beeksma, Koloa

4-day work week should be permanent

I was very happy to see the Mayor put government employees on a four day work week.

For parents of young children, this means one less day to pay child care ….And therefore more money in their pockets . The same is true for those caring for kupuna. It is one less day to pay for a companion or adult day care.

For the public it is also a good thing. The longer hours mean that people don’t have to get off work or miss their lunch hour to stand in line at the DMV. They can now do any government business before or after work.

This is not a new concept. Hospital nurses have been working four day work weeks for years.

Aside from the court system, I cannot think of anything that can’ be accomplished in a longer 4 days.

I hope our government will consider making this permanent.

Mary Balcom, Lihue

  1. nothings free May 15, 2020 5:31 am Reply

    So let’s look at the reality of a happy 4 day week vacation. On one hand we have the Government. A body of workers founded through our Constitution as nothing more than a protection and regulatory group. It’s only money is spawn from the money it can confiscate from you and your neighbors who are the actual wealth creators. Sole proprietorships, wage workers, small businesses, and big corporations etc.! All Government does is raise their own salaries as much as they want to, look at expenses for their “regulatory” responsibilities, and decide how much private sector money to take from the real workers of the world who actually create value within our system! Of course “Government” has the power to create money out of thin air by printing it, but any idiot knows that the more you print the less value it has, and you end up with having to purchase a wheel barrow to carry enough money to buy a loaf of bread. Think Germany in the 1940’s, Venezuela today, and all the rest of the out of control Socialist leaning Governments throughout history. It’s not ok for a Government to have a 4 day week unless you want the real workers of our Society to experience interminable delays for everything Government touches. longer lines, real businesses being hampered by everything they do that touches Government, regulatory actions taking longer, and all the other negatives that will rear their ugly collective heads! It’s not worth it! In fact Government workers should work more hours, not have lifetime government pensions at the expense of our children, who will pay their hard earned money to support them for life, and Government should not have the power to set their own wages! The workers who create our Society’s “real money and wealth” should do that! After all IT’S THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY! When “real” businesses take another day off the economy loses exactly that amount of money running through the economy! Money is the blood running through a Country’s veins. Your convenient “work less” plan is actually asking the economy to operate with less blood! The way all our “Politicians”, especially Democrats/Socialists and “free stuff” Big Government selfies, suck off the hard working tax payer is comparable to a Vampire taking blood out of the veins in your neck. With your 4 day work week our benevolent “Government Politicians” will just conveniently raise your tax rates by one fifth to cover their addiction to your money! While you, the real economic workers take another day off, make less money, but still be required to pay the Vampire who will always assure itself access to the same amount of your blood.

    1. Lola dog May 15, 2020 4:40 pm Reply

      Nothings free, or is it nothing is free’s contraction Nothing’s free ?

  2. rk669 May 15, 2020 6:07 am Reply

    The Political leaders in Japan,are definitely better Equipped at handling a Crisis! They don’t React with Knee JERK reactions!
    Calm and Cool Headed! Unlike our leaders in Hawai’i,who seem to be of Japanese Decent! They’re nowhere Japan’s Leaders EQUALS? We have Dumb& Dumber! LOL

    1. A matter of trust May 15, 2020 1:39 pm Reply

      If we could trust locals and visitors to behave as well as the general population of Tokyo, perhaps then all of these limitations wouldn’t be necessary. Too bad we have so many JERKS living here.

  3. Mark Beeksma May 15, 2020 3:58 pm Reply

    Slovenia was one of the first countries in Europe to require face masks. It was heavily criticized by the WHO, but they stood strong against the corruption of WHO. Recently, Slovenia is the first European country to declare Covid-19 defeated in its borders (although they still have a few cases, like Hawaii). This is no coincidence. Masks have been the key.

  4. WAVE S May 15, 2020 4:21 pm Reply

    WOW !!!


  5. Everythingisawesome May 15, 2020 5:29 pm Reply

    That’s some good digging for data. While I personally think there are too many variables to say conclusively that the masks make a difference, I commend you for taking the time to look it up and analyze it. Something to consider, are you sure that ‘lock-down’ actually reduces the number of infections or deaths? I know what you are thinking; “Lock-down doesn’t reduce infections? That’s crazy talk!”. Hear me out. Reducing contact with non-family members would likely reduce transfer of the virus between non-family members, but it might actually increase transfer of the virus within a family/household. Maybe lock-down and “house-arrest” actually increases infections that wouldn’t normally occur! I can’t point to a study off-hand that proves my thesis but I know this much (and using your own methodology): The US did a pseudo lock-down and Japan didn’t and there appears to be a higher rate of infection and death due to the virus in the US.

    Does anyone else find it disturbing that 60% of the deaths in the US occur within a 150 mile radius?

    New York: 27,444
    New Jersey: 10,138
    Mass: 5,482
    Pennsylvania: 4,422
    Maryland: 1,911
    Connecticut: 3,219

    52616 deaths out of 87513 deaths = 60%
    Are we not paying academic and government researchers enough to figure this one out?What have they been doing for the past 2 months? Are there no investigative journalists left? Am I posting this to the wrong newspaper? I have my own theories. Time will tell.

  6. Baba Babooze May 15, 2020 7:12 pm Reply

    rk669 for Mayor!

  7. SimpleSolutions May 16, 2020 9:10 am Reply

    The Government is here to serve the people, the reason for the four day work week is a knee jerk reaction to the Covid-19 virus with the thought that the people who work for us will have fewer person to person contact outside of their homes. So by policy, the four day work week is meant to serve less people. The demand for services is not going to change but access to services will be severely limited.

    If businesses followed this four day work week in good times, they would go out of business…but obviously that is not your focus as there are going to be few businesses around after this anyways.

    One needs to question, how many cases of Covid-19 on Kauai came from county workers who contracted it at work? Uh none. Another decision based more on self interest than on logic.

    If the mayor wants a four day work week then he should stagger the employees work schedule so that we have our access to our services five days a week. If a four day work week is the solution, then Saturday should be a mandatory work day to better serve the community at large. If the major wants to limit human to human contact, then services that can be provided by phone should be done by work from home.

    It’s time for the whole island to get back to work.

  8. Pete Antonson May 16, 2020 2:31 pm Reply

    There is no evidence of “Herd Immunity” in the USA or anywhere else regarding Covid-19. Herd immunity is 70-80% of the population immune or vaccinated. In fact, there is a growing number of reinfected Covid-19 cases.
    Stop processing the wishful bias of FOX & Friends. That is entertainment, like Monster Truck Rally or Swamp People.

    1. Everythingisawesome May 19, 2020 3:00 pm Reply

      “You think you can do it? good luck to ya.”

      I’ve always been partial to “Mountain Monsters”.

      1. Pete Antonson May 20, 2020 4:12 pm Reply

        You are neither funny or clever; but, keep telling your mirror that you are!

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