I voted for you. I attended your campaign fundraisers, and I am part of a community of people who have been rooting for you all along.
But I am also a concerned citizen. You may be aware that I have written to you before, but I have never received a response from you. There are many perspectives surrounding the COVID-19 response, and I do respect that you have been hit from all sides with the economic devastation caused by this crisis.
Because this is an unprecedented worldwide virus pandemic (with the emotional reactions and strict regulations set forth) we have all been in a “best-guess” situation. Our world has never been shut down before, and once it was shut down, no one seems to know the best way to re-open it. I would like to add another perspective, and hopefully a voice of reason, to allow a broader lens as we view our way forward.
I used the word “unprecedented” above in description of our virus crisis. But as a result of our “best-guess” measures to contain the virus, we now have unprecedented business failure and unemployment. Sadly, we know that these things can lead to unprecedented alcohol abuse, unprecedented domestic violence, and unprecedented emotional and personal loss.
At this point it is important that we account for the wildly inaccurate models that promoted our overblown virus response, and we need to reassess where we should go from here. Our fantastically low case numbers and zero death statistics should be further amplified to include “serious illness” statistics.
How many of our cases were actually hospitalized? What were the underlying medical concerns of the people who did suffer serious illness effects? These facts can help us identify what steps we can take to make sure we put the proper attention on our ailing economy while we reopen safely.
With updated statistics we can better assess how many hospital beds would more accurately be needed if our case numbers do go up as we start to welcome visitors once again. We don’t need to panic, we just need to educate and prepare. Now that we know that it is just a small percentage of people who actually have severe symptoms, and how few actually need to be hospitalized, we can have a more logical response to this very-contagious-but-not-often-serious virus. Let’s put a more intelligent focus on our infirm and elderly. Let’s educate all of our residents to boost immune function and increase healthy habits, which would reduce serious symptom responses and reduce the need for hospitalization.
Let’s put our focus and resources where our residents can benefit from them. High-risk people, the frail, the sick, the elderly — they should be social distancing, sheltering in place and wearing masks. We can offer special accommodations for them (early hours at stores, social services to offer shopping, etc.).
Otherwise, healthy people should be able to make personal decisions for their own immune systems and safety. The true science on cloth masks show that they are wholly ineffective, a huge waste of resources and an unnecessary source of stress for everyday life.
Speaking of wasting resources, requiring stores to wipe down every grocery cart, limiting access to stores, and all of the other alarmist things we are doing, haven’t shown to really do anything. Let’s just wash our hands and spend valuable resources on education and immune support.
I pray for you as you continue to make these important decisions that will be best revealed by history, and I am thankful for your time and attention to this letter. We truly live in unprecedented times, and I am hopeful that we will enjoy an unprecedented recovery.
Michele Dillberg is a resident of Koloa.