Let’s find a way to resume our productive lives

I read with interest the letter published Sept. 16 by Janet Eisenbach. She made some interesting points. Reading further, the comments sent in regard to her letter were often angry and quite scathing. I do not know why, considering that her letter was not disrespectful.

My heart breaks to hear from so many people (like those who responded angrily) who feel tied to the restrictions imposed because of the fears that have been fed all of us in response to the COVID pandemic.

There are different points of view on all of the “scientific” and “health mandates,” and we must all recognize that science is not infallible, and our esteemed health experts have been wrong on many things in regard to the handling of this pandemic, the restrictions that were put in place, and the efforts that can be used to flatten the curve.

This crisis is unprecedented in that the world has never been shut down before, and we have never suffered from such an easily-spread virus in the age of worldwide travel. Our experts have all been reduced to “best-guess” scenarios. It does not speak well of anyone who is not interested in hearing different opinions in the hopes of greater understanding.

In regard to masks, I urge everyone to take some time to look into mask ratings. Different masks are rated for the protection they provide for different exposures.

It is important to also understand the type of exposure that COVID presents. The virus is extremely communicable because the virus does not require big droplets for transmission. COVID breaks down into very-minuscule particles — it become aerosol.

Those aerosol particles are NOT stopped by a cloth mask, they are not stopped by any of the disposable masks you see people wearing, either. Only the highest-rated hospital mask is COVID-rated.

Think that information all the way through. Now ask yourself WHY are we being mandated to wear a mask. These are questions we should all be asking our officials. Ask your doctor if a cloth mask is COVID-rated. Ask the mayor.

If you feel more secure wearing a mask, I am happy to oblige you, even though I will miss seeing your smile and it is very difficult to understand you when you speak. I am happy to social distance with anyone who has health concerns, and I want to respect anyone who is more susceptible to this virus or any other communicable disease.

But, with most respect, I must also ask where we are going with these mandates and social conditioning? We need to all recognize that we are unable to eliminate risk from our lives, and we also need to recognize that although any person suffering from sickness and the loss of a loved one is tragic, we must be finding a way to manage our fears and mitigate our risks with healthy attitudes and personal responsibility.

I personally choose not to jump off cliffs into the ocean, but I do not think we should draft rules to prevent it or shame the people who choose to do it. I don’t choose to live on candy bars, pastries and soda drinks, either, but should they be outlawed? How many people die annually from diabetes?

Why have we become so risk-adverse? Why has this become a cultural movement? How is it that my liberal-thinking friends have turned into people who endorse more restrictions and rules?

I thought being liberal meant that there would be a broader perspective and those people would be more open-minded. This new culture seems more judgmental and less individual.

History will look back on these days where all of our officials were dealing with unprecedented times. Have the sacrifices we have made cost too great a price? What about mental health? What about education? What about our goals, dreams and economic fitness?

All of the community-spread models were grossly overstated. Communities made big mistakes, and many people in age homes died. But, on the other hand, the disease was not as serious for a vast group of our population.

Imagine for a moment if our officials knew what they know now when this whole thing began. Would we have needed to shut down the whole world economy? Wouldn’t it have been more effective to quarantine the susceptible and let the low-risk individuals help maintain our quality of life and economies?

I would urge the people who wrote angry letters — please don’t live in fear (Ginger, George, Douglas and Joe and Alan). Let’s find a way to resume our productive lives.


Michelle Dillberg is a resident of Koloa.

  1. L. W. Griggs September 20, 2020 3:20 am Reply

    Thank you Michelle for your thoughtful and insightful letter. We are in the grips of a fear campaign which has stripped reason and logic from the equation. Hopefully more people will begin to recognize that we cannot move forward with such a risk-averse mentality.

  2. rk669 September 20, 2020 6:52 am Reply

    Well let’s thank our mayor for the (breadlines)created out of this politically motivated crisis. We’d like the communication emails between Governor and the health dept of Hawaii. Request was denied to Associated Press. The coronavirus cases Spiked after contract tracers whistle blowers report? Food and bread lines,same as in the Great Depression? Cuba,Venezuela come to mind!
    What are our Political Leaders of Hawaii doing to its Citizens?
    No bailouts for pre coronavirus State Debts! Mismanagement of $$’s is what happened here in Hawaii!

  3. james September 20, 2020 7:35 am Reply

    Why do we have societal rules? For the betterment of society as a whole. Is it OK to restrict a parent from abusing their own child if they believe God gives them that right? Of course, for the benefit of the child. Why have seat belt regulations? Other than protecting people from their own careless behavior, many seatbelt-less injury victims end up in the hospital with no insurance, hence, we the taxpayers end up paying those bills. Why have regulations preventing corporations from dumping toxic waste into the ocean if they chose to do so? To protect all of us. Why mandate mask regulations? While not 100% effective, they do reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus. Your rights are not ironclad. You do not have the right to beat your child, pollute our ocean, not wear a seat belt and many other restrictions that we, as a society, deem to be the right thing. Same with masks. You can risk your own life to an extent as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of the rest of us. Take up motocross if you like risk; you will love the rush. Please have health insurance when you get hurt so we don’t have to pay for your bills.

  4. Kaua’i Tutu September 20, 2020 7:36 am Reply

    I always enjoy your writing Michelle !
    Hopefully the governor will stay true to his word THIS TIME and will open the island with the testing and bubble resorts.
    We need to bring back our culture; our music and dancing, our cultural events and more! So much I have missed. Keep up the good work in writing Michelle!

  5. MamaTree September 20, 2020 8:20 am Reply

    Well said, Ms. Dillberg. You are not alone!

  6. Andrew September 20, 2020 9:26 am Reply

    Masks are imperfect. The part about the “very-minuscule particles” is very informative. I guess, in my opinion, the masks are for the bigger drops, and sometimes chunks, that spray out of peoples face orifices during normal human interaction. An accidental sneeze can happen to anyone. Or one time a small bug flew into my mouth and I coughed unexpectedly. Even talking to someone and making a point, some visible spray can come out. I’ve seen it come out of my mouth (nooooo!!!!) and I’ve had it happen to me by others. If I like the person, then I pretend it didn’t happen. Just a little spray, no big deal. But if I don’t like the person, I am grossed out. So the masks are lame, I agree, but at least they stop some of the larger chunks, drips, and spray coming out of peoples mouths and noses. The mask can help contain the spray-mucus and saliva; and people can clean their masks or replace the disposable. This in turn may make the spread of covid less rampant. And if it helps slow the spread of the disease, then I will wear mine in public. As for the “very-minuscule particles”, hopefully the social distancing that we uphold will help with that. I wear a mask, wash my hands, sanitize, social distance, and will do whatever I can to help stop the spread of Covid19. And Thank You to everyone for doing their best to stop the spread of Covid19.

  7. Anon Ymouse September 20, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    Annnnnnnd if/when you do get sick, you can of course visit Ms. Dillberg at Dillberg Integrated Healthcare for some “detoxification,” acupuncture, “neuro emotional reprogramming,” etc. Good luck with that.

  8. Paulo September 20, 2020 10:37 am Reply

    We are not to not trust our own MDs and scientists or any of those around the globe? We are to trust Ms Dillberg?

    1. Joe September 21, 2020 7:17 am Reply

      She’s providing an alternative valid viewpoint. There is common ground to be had in this discussion.

  9. LTEreader September 20, 2020 11:40 am Reply

    “Now ask yourself WHY are we being mandated to wear a mask. Those aerosol particles are NOT stopped by a cloth mask, they are not stopped by any of the disposable masks you see people wearing, either.”

    Are you suggesting that you know more than the CDC, MIT, and the Mayo Clinic?

    CDC. Updated Aug. 7, 2020:
    “Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of masks is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain. CDC’s recommendations for masks will be updated as new scientific evidence becomes available.”

    MIT Medical. July 7, 2020:
    “Evidence for the efficacy of masks comes both from laboratory studies and real-world scenarios. For example, one recent laboratory experiment used a laser-light-scattering methodology to visualize respiratory droplets generated while subjects repeated the phrase “stay healthy.” While each utterance generated hundreds of droplets ranging in size from 20 to 500 micrometers, the researchers showed that covering the speaker’s mouth with a damp washcloth blocked nearly all of them.
    The evidence from epidemiologic data and case studies may be even more compelling. A recent study, for example, used publicly available data to calculate the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states and the District of Columbia between the end of March and late May of 2020. Researchers found that mask mandates led to a marked slowdown in the daily growth rate, estimating that mask mandates may have prevented up to 450,000 cases of COVID-19.”

    MAYO Clinic. August 20, 2020:
    “A cloth mask is intended to trap droplets that are released when the wearer talks, coughs or sneezes. Asking everyone to wear cloth masks can help reduce the spread of the virus by people who have COVID-19 but don’t realize it. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus when they are widely used by people in public settings. And countries that required face masks, testing, isolation and social distancing early in the pandemic have successfully slowed the spread of the virus.”

    “we must be finding a way to manage our fears and mitigate our risks with healthy attitudes and personal responsibility.”
    We ARE taking personal responsibility, and the majority of Kaua’i residents ARE adhering to what’s been asked since the onset of this pandemic, thus our consistently low numbers.

    “How is it that my liberal-thinking friends have turned into people who endorse more restrictions and rules?”
    Perhaps because they’ve taken the time to educate themselves with facts from the experts (as listed above). Granted cloth masks aren’t 100%, nor COVID rated, BUT since they do help slow the spread of droplets then it’s worth the temporary inconvenience.

  10. Pete Antonson September 20, 2020 2:31 pm Reply

    Unlike myths about masks doing it, this letter just takes your breath away. The hypocrisy of preaching against science based health information and methods as fearmongering while at the same time trying to have us fear our our masks for their inadequacy is just revolting! What’s that you quacked? Covid-19 is now somehow like an aerosol? Just a few diseases, including measles, TB, and chickenpox, have been accepted as being transmitted through aerosols. It is rare and if true, then we have a lot more to fear than we did! The aerosol debate has been around for years, it is not the consensus. Interestingly, those pushing aerosol transmission are even more pro-mask and have more stringent social distance methods (TIME Aug 25).

  11. J.D. September 20, 2020 2:35 pm Reply

    Thank you for stating what most people feel.
    All of the government models and projections have been wrong.
    Quarantines are for people that are sick. Healthy people need to live. By all means protect the vulnerable.
    We could have dealt with this without shutting down states.
    Depression and suicides are at exceptional highs. These lives matter.

  12. R.L. Skinner September 20, 2020 4:21 pm Reply

    Finally a logical person on Kauai! Look at what this has done to our state, our country.
    Use common sense. Use a mask, don’t use a mask, stay home it is not safe to go to the beach alone and be 100 yards from the nearest virus carrier….Kauai has not had any cases for quite awhile….why are we wearing masks and keeping restaurants closed.
    Walmar, Costco, Home Depot, your mechanic are all open.
    James, again a comment that makes no sense
    Get real America

  13. mark September 21, 2020 10:13 am Reply

    We understand there is minimal risk of infection with “aerosolized droplets” and greater risk for infection with mucus “droplets” that spread over -about 6 feet. We understand that a mask will protect a person from the spreading of droplets and not much protection from aerosolized droplets.

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