Officials: Keep wearing masks

LIHU‘E — Representatives of the World Health Organization say data now shows secondary transmission of COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals, or those showing no signs of the virus, is “very rare”.

While answering a media question during a Monday press conference, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said for those who haven’t developed COVID-19 symptoms, like a fever or shortness of breath, “it appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward.”

The conclusion was drawn through studying contact tracing, Van Kerkhove said, and urged continued detailed contact tracing to better the world’s understanding of the virus.

In response to the new information from WHO, Mayor Derek Kawakami and the state’s COVID-19 Joint Information Center both emphasized the fluidity of COVID-19 recovery and reiterated the importance of mask wearing.

“We don’t know who may have an asymptomatic infection, so the best we can do is act as though we have the virus and behave accordingly,” Kawakami said in a statement to The Garden Island. “That means wearing masks when we are in close or prolonged contact with those outside of our household. It means to practice social distancing. It means to wash our hands, refrain from touching our faces and to clean surfaces often.”

A statement from the Joint Information Center echoed Kawakami’s response, pointing out the phases of recovery that have been activated as information and circumstances change, saying: “The state is in a different phase of recovery than it was weeks ago and guidance and measures will evolve as we continue to reopen and rebuild our economy.”

The Joint Information Center pointed out the difficulty of finding balance in some pandemic-related decisions, like the recent statewide peaceful demonstrations, demanding an end police brutality and protesting racism.

“Large gatherings in crowded conditions without social distancing and without the use of masks are responsible for increasing the spread of respiratory disease such as COVID-19,” the information center’s statement said.

It continued: “The recent peaceful protests in Hawai‘i have been a justifiable expression of the people’s outrage over national events and racism. It’s sometimes difficult to find the right balance in these situations. The Governor is asking protesters to consider self-quarantining and monitoring their health for a few days in order to protect others.”

On Kaua‘i, Kawakami was at Saturday’s demonstration with his family, noting the vast majority of people were wearing masks and “respected our physical space”.

“I’m proud of our response across our state and especially here on Kaua‘i in terms of our ability to peacefully protest. People across the nation and around the world are hurting deeply and have been moved to act,” he said in a statement to TGI, Monday, acknowledging the risk of such a gathering during a pandemic.

“Yes, large gatherings of people increases the risk of exposure, but given the current circumstances, we knew these demonstrations were going to occur. Our administration and Kaua‘i Police Department acknowledged our community’s desire to safely express their emotions, and we extended our services to support those efforts as best we’re able,” he said.

  1. Jay June 9, 2020 3:23 am Reply

    Am I missing something? WHO says that it is very rare that an asymptotic person would transmit the virus.. as a result Kauai mayor then says that we should continue to ware masks because we don’t know if people have the virus but are asymptotic…

    Sound to me just as logical as 1+1=3

    Trust the people, allow them to govern their lives, and stop the control madness.. we learned from history once government takes a freedom away it’s unlikely to give it back to us, examples are abound:

    9-11 – Mass Surveillance – loss of privacy
    Mandated immunizations – loss of our right to raise our children as we see fit
    TSA airport security – Loss of our dignity


    COVID-19 – Face masks, forced shutdowns,
    mass quarantine of mostly healthy population – That reprise ya a final take away of our overall Freedom, and our ability to pursue happiness.

    Remember what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the bill of rights:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    1. nomaske June 9, 2020 11:01 am Reply

      Agree with Jay here. A complete rejection of what WHO is saying.

    2. HoleySheet June 9, 2020 11:03 pm Reply

      Yes the government is out to get us. Or whatever you’re trying to say. Honestly don’t know because you’re all over the map here. Surveillance after 9/11, k you got something there even if its not related at all.

      Mandated vaccines? There aren’t many mandated vaccine laws. The only reason they are coming about is because of idiots that don’t understand basic science disagreeing with people that actually do.

      TSA? TSA was a waste of time and money but if you think they are infringing on your freedom to carry water and lighters onto planes then you must lead a very privileged life.

      Also quoting the dude that kept slaves about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness is pretty rich.

  2. merri June 9, 2020 6:54 am Reply

    Mr. W. was quite cozy (sans mask) with Mr. Kawakami and do you think they are going to self quarantine? I’ll bet no.

  3. Martha Girdany June 9, 2020 8:29 am Reply

    WHO has since modified the statement they made:

    Calling the controversy “a misunderstanding,” Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging disease and zoonosis unit, said that during the news conference Monday, she was trying to respond to a journalist’s question when she said asymptomatic transmission was “very rare.”
    “I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO or anything like that,” she said. “We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who do not have symptoms, can transmit the virus on.”
    It was not the “intent of WHO to say there is a new or different policy,” added Mike Ryan, head of emergency programs for WHO. “There is still too much unknown about this virus and still too much unknown about its transmission dynamics.”
    While asymptomatic transmission does occur, no one knows for sure how frequently that happens. Studies and models have suggested many of those infected never show symptoms. And it remains an open question whether they are a large force driving transmission. At the same time, however, some countries using contact tracing to work backward from confirmed cases have not found many instances of asymptomatic spread, WHO officials noted.

  4. Everythingisawesome June 9, 2020 8:39 am Reply

    “the difficulty of finding balance in some pandemic-related decisions”

    The decision of topic should not be so difficult. We are governed by a document called the Constitution that spells out explicitly what the government (we) is not allowed to do to you (all of us). Without a written document we are a nation (or people) subject to the whims, sometimes good but mostly bad, of our elected officials. We are a nation of laws and not of men/women. The only acceptable justification for our government violating the first amendment to the constitution would be to prevent the loss of law and order and the downfall of the government instituted to protect order. Protecting order is in everyone’s interest. Does a mass gathering of people who might infect each other with a respiratory virus pose a threat to our established government? Perhaps if the death rate for the virus was higher. As it is, the COVID-19 virus has killed fewer people this year than pneumonia per the CDC. Were the framers of the constitution unaware of issues of public health? Not likely. Cut and paste ‘diseases in 1789’.

    So the decision should be simple. A mass, peaceful gathering of people, who might contract a virus that has a IFR of less than 0.5%, only .26% as of late May, does not pose a threat to our established order and cannot be lawfully prohibited by the government on the basis of public health.

  5. Diane Torkelson June 9, 2020 11:06 am Reply

    The comments made by the W.H.O. spokesperson about non-symptomatic people not spreading the virus have now been walked back. The New York Times article today includes the following quote ““All of the best evidence suggests that people without symptoms can and do readily spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19,” scientists at the Harvard Global Health Institute said in a statement on Tuesday. “

    1. truth be known June 9, 2020 1:31 pm Reply

      So who believes anything the New York “Toilet Paper” Times prints anymore? (Compliments of Mr. Hannity) They have been wrong so many times they have become the laughing stock of the publishing world. And if you don’t think Harvard is frantically trying to develop an “instant vaccine” so they can cash in on the prize then you are naive. The rest of the world is getting back to a similitude of normalcy. It’s time we followed their lead.

  6. truth be known June 9, 2020 12:39 pm Reply

    Per a post by Natural News : “In stunning news, after five months of claiming the coronavirus could spread via “asymptomatic carriers,” necessitating the lockdowns, the mask policies and mandatory vaccines, the WHO has now declared there is virtually no spread at all through asymptomatic carriers.
    All at once, the WHO just obliterated any last shred of any argument in favor of mandatory vaccines, masks, lockdowns, quarantines or contact tracing.
    This announcement should end all lockdowns and terminate vaccine research. It’s all pointless now, since the WHO says covid-19 can only be spread by people with obvious symptoms who are very easy to spot (and avoid).” We need to end this charade now and get on with our lives.

  7. my boy emulator June 10, 2020 7:23 am Reply

    Be it officials or common people, it doesn’t matter from where you belong. It all depends on what as a person you contribute to the society.
    Regards, Myboy Apk

  8. What? June 11, 2020 6:38 am Reply

    What gives the government the right to treat all of us like children and turn us all into germaphobes. Masks only work if they are cleaned and sanitized every day. We touch them all day long with our hands fiddling with them. putting them on and taking off. This is all a lie.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.