Letters for Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Virus claimed same number of lives as regular flu in Hawai‘i

Total infected in Hawai‘i is about 1,000. Slightly more. Total deaths = about 20 (actually 19). These figures are as of 7/11/20. That means death rate is 2%. Lop off some of that for incorrect COVID-19 diagnosis as cause of death (Pre-existing condition is actual cause of death). This means death rate is about the same as the regular flu. The regular flu death rate is calculated per 100,000 population, number of deaths is about the same.

Well, go figure. A lot of stress and financial hardship for this?

Molly Jones, Kealia

Happy to bring all ‘We Are the World from Kaua‘i’

Thank you, TGI, for covering our release of a virtual choir project, “We Are the World from Kaua‘i.” During these times of troubled news and dark thoughts, it gives us great pleasure to share light and joy through music. I hope everyone will get a lift of spirits by checking out the video on YouTube. (Search “We Are the World from Kaua‘i.”)

To correct a few things in the article, this virtual choir was an independent project, produced and directed by myself, with the performances and work of about 30 friends.

Additionally, with the help of my friend and extraordinarily talented pianist, Monica Chung, we have created “Sing Out Kaua‘i,” a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit, bringing exciting new formats for singers and audiences, while following all prudent health and safety guidelines. Stay tuned for future announcements.

In the meantime, Kaua‘i, stay safe, healthy, and keep music in your lives.

Much aloha,

Randy Leonard, Director, Sing Out Kaua‘i

24 Comments
  1. Mal July 22, 2020 3:43 am Reply

    Dear Molly-

    Think what those numbers would look like had those extraordinary measures not been taken.


  2. Tom Kerr July 22, 2020 3:53 am Reply

    RE: Letter to the Editor – Wednesday July 22, 2020 Virus claimed same number of lives as regular flu in Hawai‘i by Molly Jones

    In her Letter to the Editor, which compared current COVID-19 statistics in Hawaii to average flu statistics in Hawaii, Ms. Jones missed a very important fact and huge difference. The current Hawaii COVID-19 statistics are the direct result of very restrictive stay-at-home orders, quarantine orders, mandatory face mask orders, etc. In a “typical flu season”, we do very little other than get a flu shot. The current COVID-19 Hawaii statistics are only this “good” because of the strict restrictions. My wife is a Level 1 ER/Trauma manager on the mainland , and she would absolutely tell you from her day-to-day experience ‘in the trenches” that you are 100% wrong. The “typical flu” is no where near as contagious nor as lethal as COVID-19. If Hawaii did not invoke the very restrictive and mandatory guidelines, the islands would need hundreds if not thousands of body bags and refrigerated morgue trucks as they’re doing on the Mainland. Do not be so naive as to think COVID-19 is “just the flu”. Your thinking and logic are seriously flawed. Aloha


  3. ruthann jones July 22, 2020 4:05 am Reply

    Molly…there are no words for your incredible ignorance. Perhaps you need to spend an hour
    visiting an ICU unit on the mainland. Kauai has done a superb job of preventing widespread infection with this terrible disease. Putting your head in the sand is an alternative to donning a mask!


  4. Pete Antonson July 22, 2020 6:31 am Reply

    You overlook the potential for harm, if no measures had been taken, compared to the known potential of seasonal influenza. The current spread in Florida, Texas, and SoCal, even with some measures in effect, is nothing like seasonal influenza.
    You overlook the fact that fatalities due to influenza are estimates made annually while Covid-19 fatalities are confirmed cases (despite the propaganda you have received).
    You overlook the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports an average influenza death rate below 0.1%, Using reported cases and confirmed deaths, WHO reports a Covid-19 death rate of 3-4%. The difference between 0.1% and 3% in a large population is quite profound!
    You overlook the fact that we are just now learning of permanent, serious damage done throughout the body’s systems by so-called “mild” Covid-19 cases.
    You overlook the fact that Covid-19 can be infectious 5-6 days without symptoms whereas influenza compares with 2-3. This makes Covid-19 amazingly more contagious,
    You overlook the fact that we have not taken similar measure during seasonal influenza because it does nor compare at all to Covid-19 unless you cherrypick numbers you don’t quite understand!


  5. Citizen July 22, 2020 7:03 am Reply

    The death rate is far below 2%. The CDC says if You are under 50, you have a .05% chance of death IF you get it. If you are 75 or older its about 1.3%. If you are under 30 its nearly zero. TheSe facts are available to the public on the CDC website, but the news will just scare you with asymptomatic case counts.


    1. Considerate Citizen July 22, 2020 3:46 pm Reply

      By all means, go ahead and get it for yourself and keep it to yourself. Prove us all wrong.


  6. Michele Dillberg July 22, 2020 8:18 am Reply

    Dear Molly,
    The points you make are valid. Readers can (and should) look At all of the statistics available to get a full understanding and to be able to make a wiser assessment of risk as we move forward through this pandemic and on with our lives.
    We need to assess all of the illness and morbidity numbers (not just covid) and compare those with previous years.
    It must be understood that Covid statistics are bundled with fatalities from other underlying causes.
    This is documented by the WHO and the CDC, and has been acknowledged by our Corona task force. If someone dies after a long illness suffering with diabetes, heart disease, lung cancer (or any multitude of health problems) but also were tested positive for Covid, their death is qualified as a Covid death.
    Knowing this, the Covid statistics take on a less frightening total, and we can make clearer plans to manage our risks.
    I will not try to mitigate the very real health problems caused by Covid, but when we look at the totality of the effects (some which are very mild) and acknowledge that we have in years past dealt with all kinds of contagious and degenerative health problems, our path forward can become clearer. With this perspective we can all make a more honest assessment of this virus crisis, and employ plans that are not based on fear.
    Thank you a Molly for your letter.


    1. kauaiboy July 22, 2020 3:13 pm Reply

      Dear Michele, please refer to the best, most informative LTE on this page. It is the second one done, by Tom Kerr. He is smart, writes well, and is wife an experienced medical professional. It is coming, and we won’t be spared, but we can avoid the worst of it by honoring protocols. The only way out is a well-tested, well-distributed, reasonably priced Covid 19 vaccine. I’ll take yours if you do not feel it necessary.


  7. manawai July 22, 2020 8:41 am Reply

    Molly Jones, I was thinking that as well until I looked it up. See this info released by John Hopkins which reveals that the flu kills from $250,000 to 650,000 people each YEAR. Covid-19 has killed 616,990 in HALF A YEAR.

    Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, explained,

    “Deaths
    COVID-19: There have been approximately 616,990 deaths reported worldwide. In the U.S, 142,073 people have died of COVID-19, as of July 22, 2020.

    Flu: The World Health Organization estimates that 290,000 to 650,000 people die of flu-related causes every year worldwide.

    In the U.S., from Oct. 1, 2019 – Apr. 4, 2020, the CDC estimates that 24,000 to 62,000 people died from the flu. (The CDC does not know the exact number because the flu is not a reportable disease in most parts of the U.S.)

    The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working to estimate the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be substantially higher than that of most strains of the flu.”


  8. LMat July 22, 2020 8:45 am Reply

    Molly, you’re logic is flawed. Hawaii is obviously a special case. We were able to stave off mass infection (and death) by imposing a quarantine on incoming infected. We limited and regulated travel into the state. We are STILL limiting incoming visitors and quarantining ourselves. Do you think infection and death rates would still be as low as it is if we never did this? When was the last time we quarantined our entire state for the flu…? It’ s not comparable.


  9. Uncleaina July 22, 2020 9:01 am Reply

    Surprised to see people still acting like this is the flu. Hey Molly, sure Hawai’i has had slightly better outcome – maybe you didn’t notice the masks, the drastic changes to society nor the fact that every year 165,000,000 Americans get a seasonal flu vaccine? You probably haven’t read about 141,000 dead Americans- fully twice as many dead in 5 months as any seasonal flu ever. You hardly ever hear COVID mentioned in the news, right? I’m pretty sure you wrote a letter saying this same thing about a month ago when only 90,000 were dead. Believe what you like Molly, but wear a mask in public.


    1. Rick July 22, 2020 5:02 pm Reply

      You seem to be saying if 165 million people didn’t get the flu vax every year then the seasonal flu would be far worse than Covid19? Most people attempting to live a healthier lifestyle (exercising, eating better, ect) do NOT get the flu shot. Why? Because the more you learn about eating better, exercising, viruses, bacteria, the way nature works, the more you realize that you don’t need it. Oh and by the way there is Risk. There is risk with everything we do. We have risked many people committing suicide by shutting everything down and keeping people isolated. What about those people? We have lost more people from this response than the virus. Would anyone like to comment on this? Also feel free to quantify how many lives were saved by our extreme measures. Please to respond with “well I don’t know but it had to have saved tons!”


  10. Kurt Last July 22, 2020 9:11 am Reply

    Two points in response to Ms. Jones:

    First, it’s interesting that you are changing the rules of epidemiology by saying that people who are definitely killed by COVID-19 were instead killed by their underlying condition. So what you are writing, incorrectly, is that someone with well managed T2 Diabetes who acquired COVID-19 and died, was killed by Diabetes. That is not true, and suggesting that it is true spreads misinformation. You can make up your own opinions, but not your own facts.

    Second, the reason that we have enjoyed the remarkably low disease and death rate we have is because our state and county closed down, after analyzing the economic pain that would cause. The governor and mayor decided that temporary economic pain was better than widespread disease and death. Governors in Florida, Texas and Georgia decided that widespread death in their states was the right choice – after being warned repeatedly that the result would be grim – and we’re seeing now the consequences of their failed policies. Republican governors chose largely to follow the directions of the president, and we’re all suffering the effects of Mr. Trump’s lifetime of deliberate and prideful ignorance, and incompetence.

    Reopening early and recklessly is causing a horrifying death toll on the mainland now, and even the White House – who lies constantly and about everything – now estimates that another 100,000 Americans will probably die from COVID-19 by December 31, and if more states reopen, the total number of American deaths could soar to 649,000. To many people, avoiding that fate is probably worth stress and financial hardship.


  11. andy July 22, 2020 9:33 am Reply

    Molly- you are conveniently ignoring the fact that flu infections and deaths generally occur with absolutely no distancing or mask-wearing measures in place. Imagine what the Covid numbers would look like if we had NOT implemented the safety measures we did, when we did (mahalo again to Mayor Kawakami and Gov. Ige for doing their best to keep us safe). The Covid virus is very infectious and can kill you, that’s why we already have 140,000 deaths at least in the U.S. and that number is climbing faster now than at any time in this pandemic. Why? Because people are not protecting themselves and others in so many places. Why has Kauai and the other Hawaiian islands had so (relatively) few infections and deaths? Because we’ve been quite diligent about following the public health protocols asked of us. THANK GOD we are not in Florida!


    1. Rick July 22, 2020 5:16 pm Reply

      Another why is, Why are the focusing so much on “cases”. Everyone all freaking out about Florida, Georgia.. ect.. All these stupid states that are now “paying the price” for not taking this thing seriously. It so easy to see you guys are glued to CNN using all their talking points. UGGG! Wake up guys. There is a reason they are not talking about “deaths” but rather “SKYROCKETING CASES” in Florida and Georgia.. Its because it paints a different picture. A different narrative. WAKE UP KAUAI


  12. Paulo July 22, 2020 10:02 am Reply

    Not sure where you got your figures Ms Jones but for the US as a whole, the flu causes approximately 35,000 deaths yearly. So far this year with over 5 months to go COVID has caused 145,000 US deaths. What the number of deaths will at the end of the year is anyone’s guess, but it will be many times higher than the flu.


  13. Robin Clark July 22, 2020 10:06 am Reply

    The death rates Molly Jones provides may be accurate for Hawaii, although she gives no evidence for the seasonal flu rate. Nationally, the generally accepted death rate due to seasonal flu is 0.1%. The observed death rate for Covid is on the order of 6%. Furthermore, because of seasonal flu vaccines and acquired immunity, only 8% of the population appears to be susceptible to seasonal flu. This is not true thus far for Covid- 100% of the population could be affected. What has saved Hawaii it its isolation and the travel protections and social distancing that have been instituted. These measures surely cause “a lot of stress and financial hardship” but consider the alternative of the current national scene where at least 142,000 have died (a number that increases daily).


  14. Colleen July 22, 2020 11:49 am Reply

    Regarding the flu comparison, please keep in mind that these numbers are a result of the preventative measures put into place. We have no idea what the numbers would’ve been with no restrictions. Also, is the flu as unpredictable with similar effects on the body such as multiple organ damage, blood clots, strokes, amputations, antibodies disappearing, etc.? I’m no expert myself, but a comparison should take into account all of these factors.


  15. manongindashadow0711 July 22, 2020 12:30 pm Reply

    Molly Jones, “don’t think COV-19 is a big deal!” Go live somewhere where the pandemic is out of control.
    Yes, it’s a hardship. But lives are being save!
    People who suffered and died from COV-19 didn’t ask for this virus. They just lived it through suffering and death. It was a very hardship for them and their families.


  16. jack custer July 22, 2020 1:21 pm Reply

    Molly Jones,
    It seems at least a few people liked your last printed article, so you must feel empowered.
    We have very few cases of Covid-19 BECAUSE our leaders had the foresight to put in play the restrictions and mandates to keep us relatively free of it. We are enduring the results of the lockdown in an effort to maintain a control over the spread of the disease. But you sound like you’re ready to lift it and proceed forward like there is nothing to fear, or like you said:”Well, go figure. A lot of stress and financial hardship for this?”
    Have you decided to overlook what’s going on in the mainland right now? I’m wondering if you watch the news very often or not. Are you forgetting the fact that there is a flu vaccine, but not for the Covid-19? How about the new things being discovered about the Corona Virus almost every day that keep the doctors and researchers jumping to keep up? Remember, it’s called the Novel virus because it is new.
    Let’s use your numbers to extrapolate results of the virus if left to run rampant in the state of Hawaii.
    Worst case scenario might be like this:
    Hawaii State population is currently +or- 1,412,690 residents. If we opened up and allowed anyone to come and everybody here was exposed to it, (remember, we can’t walk or drive away, we have to fly or swim) a 1% death rate would be14,127 people give or take. I understand that it might not be that bad (or it could be worse), but it still sounds like a lot of dead people and a lot of others that got sick and suffered and may keep suffering permanent effects of the disease for the rest of their lives.
    The state of New York, which used to a hot spot, but has recovered, is working hard to keep it safe again. They are requiring residents from 31 other states to go into quarantine if they want to visit. We were lucky our leaders took those measures BEFORE there was an emergency. Remember, the operative word here is before. Maybe you should go to Florida, California, Texas, etc to see firsthand what’s going on there so you understand what all the hubbub is about. I’m happy to stay here being cautious, wearing a mask, social distancing and let people call me names that don’t affect my health.
    You do what you want, but you have to allow others the same freedom to do what is best for them. We only get one life each. I want mine to last as long as possible.


    1. Rick July 22, 2020 5:25 pm Reply

      “… but you have to allow others the same freedom to do what is best for them…” Yes like not being forced to wear a mask… or not being forced to get a shot for the safety of the elderly or “the collective”…(yes that second one hasn’t happened yet but the slope we are on is leading in that direction).


  17. Don't be in denial July 22, 2020 5:20 pm Reply

    Hey Molly. A friends husband just died of COVID today. He was in denial just like you.


  18. Vaccine July 22, 2020 7:51 pm Reply

    Belief in viruses and vaccines is religious, trillions in income from the patents on the vaccines is a calculated investment of capitalism sold to the believers.

    End of Life diseases and their End of Life drugs…you’re with the walking dead, the Covid19 can speed up your departure date, but not by much.

    Medical Care manages End of Life diseases by prescribing End of Lice drugs for 10-20-30 or more years…ya think those pre-existing conditions extend life..

    Belief is easier than understanding, so carry on and believe in the unknown, fear it so you never have to understand it.

    It’s clear the majority prefer fear over understanding.

    sign outside the hospital: Don’t fear Fear.


  19. Everythingisawesome July 23, 2020 9:00 am Reply

    Hi Molly,
    Sympathies for all the hateful comments directed your way. That’s why I only comment under a pseudonym. I wouldn’t want to run into some of these commenters in real life.

    You bring up a good point to consider, if some could only get past their initial knee-jerk-anti-aloha wishes toward anyone that has a different opinion. Do the measures we have imposed on us actually reduce transmission of a virus from person to person? We actually have data we can look at. We have average number of cases of influenza, also a virus, from years past where we had no restrictions. If the measures were really having a measurable effect, we would see it when comparing this year’s influenza numbers with years past. Data shows that people are still showing up at hospitals and ERs with influenza-like illnesses; clear evidence that mask wearing, washing hands, closing businesses, distancing, etc. do little to slow transmission of viruses.
    One conclusion would be that the reason this new virus hasn’t spread very far in the islands is that is hasn’t been here to spread…yet. In that regard, it seems that limiting travel has worked. However, we can’t hide forever.


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