O‘ahu has thousands of cases, Kaua‘i’s reopening plan the same

Aside from a few small island nations, Kaua‘i’s per capita COVID-19 cases are the lowest in the world. Last week, it was even lower than New Zealand, whose COVID response has been exemplary.

Along with our remote location and small population, we have our Mayor, District Health Officer, and their diligent team to thank. They have held the line. We must speak up now to help them continue to do so.

Governor Ige’s recent announcements mean that all counties will reopen October 15, with just a single pre-flight test, and no quarantine. The science suggests this is a grave mistake. No country has successfully reopened with such a plan. In seeking to reopen safely, Hawai‘i is attempting to do what no country has successfully done so far.

Tahiti and Alaska both reopened offering a single pre-flight test, no quarantine, and a second test on day 4 (Tahiti) or between days 7-14 (Alaska). Both reopenings failed. Alaska, with half of Hawai‘i’s population, has administered twice the tests we have, and yet they have had an exponential spike.

Tahiti, with 290,000 people, went from “COVID free” on July 15, to over 1,400 new cases in the last month alone — a number limited by their testing capacity. Last week, Tahiti officials announced that they expect 100,000 Tahitians to become infected in the next three months. Their two test reopening has been an unmitigated disaster.

From these two distant neighbors, and multiple studies, we know that (1) a first and second test without enforced quarantine between them will fail and (2) that widespread surveillance testing is critical to catching asymptomatic carriers. We do well under 100 tests a day and essentially no asymptomatic surveillance testing necessary to detect community spread early.

New Zealand, with no known cases, was performing about 2,000 asymptomatic surveillance tests daily when they detected 4 cases on August 10. They then immediately ramped up to over 20,000 tests per day which revealed another 75 active cases, which, with robust tracing, grew to about 200 cases. Their directive is to “go early and go hard.” Had they acted more slowly, they would have found 2,000.

New Zealand also locked down 1.5 million people within 24 hours of finding those four cases, required the use of contact tracking apps, and has never budged from their 14-day mandatory quarantine in dedicated, guarded, quarantine hotels. Hawai‘i has never locked down quickly, nor, in the last 6 months, deployed any contact tracking apps.

The governor is now asking Kaua’i to swap our relatively well-enforced 14-day quarantine for a single pre-flight test. As shown above, this trade won’t work despite wishful thinking – and no serious science supports doing so.

So we are at a turning point, which comes down to this.

We either, as the only island with no significant community spread, open up as O‘ahu is doing, or find a way to continue to protect the unique gift we presently have – an essentially COVID free environment. Marketed wisely, we can be incredibly attractive to long term tourists, the ones who spend money over months, not days.

On O‘ahu, with thousands of active cases, there is a shortsighted and fallacious argument that it is possible to control community spread, and that reopening to tourism with a single pre-flight is safe and the only way to save the economy. And for O‘ahu, in the very short run (two weeks), that is possibly true. Then they lock back down.

On Kaua‘i, however, cases from travelers will make the difference between community spread establishing itself, or not. Those infected will all be “patient zeros,” who seed the community by infecting locals, who then bring it home to their families and communities, where it simmers, until, long after those tourists have left, community spread is established with just a few superspreader events.

Once community spread is well established, it is almost impossible to stamp out, even with the inevitable lockdowns. No one has done it yet.

Until Kaua’i, and I hope the other neighbor islands, has sufficient testing capacity for both daily surveillance testing and incoming traveler multi-day test protocols, we simply are not ready to open up.

And even when we do, no community has been successful, regardless of how many tests they do, when they completely remove quarantine. Kaua‘i’s pioneering effort can only be to see if we can reduce quarantine time with a multi-test protocol that at least extends across the seven day incubation period most people experience.

With travelers likely to test on their day of departure, that means at most cutting their on island quarantine to 7 days. That is half of what we have now, which will certainly result in an increase of travelers, and risk, but more dollars will be spent and we buy some time until plentiful inexpensive rapid tests become available.

Open with less than a full week of quarantine and less than a 7-day test to get out, and we’ll be inviting in eventual community spread. The science is fairly clear. PCR tests miss 100% of infected on day 1, ~67% on day 4, and on their best day (day 8 after infection), they still miss 20%. These numbers are not exact, as there are so many testing variables, but detection is obviously more successful when the viral load is highest.

A multitest protocol is the only way to proceed, coupled with a strict quarantine, and the final test no sooner than day 7. Compromise on any of these, and our reopening has a high chance of backfiring.

And let’s remember one thing. If you were going to travel to Hawaii for a week right now, which island would you choose? We’re going to get bombarded.






Steve O’Neal is an entrepreneur and former UN Disaster Response Team Lead who resides on Kaua’i.

  1. Jay September 29, 2020 1:41 am Reply

    Who says lowest case count is a good thing? We will never achieve herd immunity this way.. even a vaccine won’t help, because so many won’t take it. What you going to do, keep it shut down for two years, until covid vanishes from our planet ?!

    1. Doug September 29, 2020 3:18 pm Reply

      It’s well established there will be no herd immunity. That’s a wish, not science

    2. Ron Rodarte September 29, 2020 8:10 pm Reply

      Jay: Herd immunity in Covid-19 does not work. The virus is seen to re-infect in many cases. That invalidates herd immunity. The aspect of herd immunity has been a misunderstanding of the process of infection and the production of antibodies that protect the recently infected patient. A biological pathogen must first be capable of inducing antibodies in sufficient amount and adequate strength to ward off re-infection. Covid-19 has not been shown to be a herd-immunity type of pathogen.
      Attempting to push a herd-immunity strategy is an invitation to massive infections with no good result.

    3. Bird September 30, 2020 6:29 am Reply

      Herd immunity requires you kill off all those who could die from it. Does this make sense to you?

  2. Reality Bites September 29, 2020 2:08 am Reply

    A “spike” in what exactly?? A disease soooo deadly you have to be tested to know if you have it or had it?? Stay home if you are over 70 and are obese, diabetic, and have other health issues…..which would be the same during flu season that kills 60K a year…..EVERY year in the USA. Get back to work 50 and younger. SMH.

    1. Doug September 29, 2020 3:20 pm Reply

      Not sure when people decided all those getting sick and having long term health issues aren’t a big deal but it’s now millions of people who could have lifelong debilitating health issues. One study of asymptomatic people in Germany had 50% with long term heart problems. It’s not a life or death virus

  3. David Gardener September 29, 2020 2:22 am Reply

    Steve O’Neal,

    Very insightful information. I do hope you sent a copy directly to our Mayor and District Health Officer. You make a lot of sense. Just because we could “open up” to visitors doesn’t mean we should.

  4. Me September 29, 2020 2:44 am Reply

    I agree. Use the resort bubble model with 1 modification, nobody with the exception of resort staff is allowed contact with the visitor. Way it is set up to work now is anybody can go visit the traveler at the resort and then return to their homes, stores, etc.
    As far as the governor……I feel he is not capable of handling his position and has proven it over time. This Corona thing is testing us all. I feel that Kauai under the direction of Derrick and his teams is better left alone and not to be meddles by the governor. Kauai has proven we need no help mitigating Corona. What we do need is more enforcement of the disrespectful quarantine breakers. I understand all of our resources are seriously limited so tracking over 2000 incoming visitors is a serious challenge. If the same resort bubble tracking was used for All in comings, proof of location would be fool proof and for those that insist they are more privileged than the rest of us, lock em up at the closed down Foodland for the year they supposed to be for breaking quarantine. And, if some want come here on work waiver, break quarantine, they get 2 years.

  5. Opening the Safe September 29, 2020 4:01 am Reply

    Successfullly following that twist and turn maze of information would be amazing if you came out the end of the maze or labyrith successfully. Pun intended.

    Again another story teller spewing 1/2 , 1/4, and 1/8 truths while spinning the same old viral story. All these viral cases but no mention that 98% , + or -, were zero to mild symptoms resulting in all those individuals producing personal antibody production and resulting immunity, and contributing themselves to Herd Immunity.

    After all immune systems have been functioning in vertebrates, and we humans are vertebrates, for 550 million years, challenging those immune systems with every toxic thing the external environment of earth could throw at the vertebrates, really “sharpening” immune skills of each specie of vertebrates for eons of time.

    The article, like most, does not mention that positive cases result in lasting immunity, and join the other positive cases in accumulating Herd Immunity that provides an individual Dead End to the spread of the virus and adds to the overall community end of virus spread. Over time as more and more Herd Immunity accumulates in communities, cities, states, nations, the world will reach Herd Immunity and this Covid19 seasonal virus will dissipate, if it is not a robot lab invented virus, which if it is, deserves macro and micro criminal investigation to rid the perpetrators of such a heinous act, from earth, so to speak, though that might be an uncovering of a national international plot of viral warfare that went south worldwide.

    At least one person on the national level is blaming another nation, pointing at Chicom revenge, over tariffs and other setbacks suffered by them(?). Horrendous if true since as it back-omni-fired on the whole world of innocents undeserving.

    if another theory is correct that seasonal flu continues it’s endless annual oscillation between the bi-polar hemispheres, wherein each polar direction of winter spread includes natural mutation for viral survival, resulting in a new viral image for each flu season ‘s new viral version, wherein 98% of each new individual human positive case, whether tested or not, still results in Zero to Mild symptoms, a good sign of health, and 94% of those 2% who manifest sick and die in the developed nations where medical care has spread, die from their pre-existing disease conditions complicated by potent and toxic and obviously lethal prescription drugs.

    There is a coverup or blame well hidden over generations of digging deeper the rut and notion that getting drugged by prescriptions is better than getting well and actually experiencing self perpetuated health instead of decades and decades of prescription drugs until death which seems to be the picture since about 100 to 150 years ago that petrochemicals have exploded into existence with more and more use on earth.

    Petrochemicals, carcinogenic as they can be, are the new norm for Disease Care disguised as Health Care, the only difference being Disease Care begets more disease and more prescription drugs, and actual Health Care abandons the petrochemical prescription drug rut, and actually through daily proactive healthy organic use of non toxic food and increased performance of physical lifestyle, restores and maintains, and perpetuates Health. And let’s not forget the “main brain” computer, the nervous system and its control and coordination of the whole body, the cells,tissues, organs, and systems.

    With 80% of the American public taking 1 or more prescription drugs a day, is it any wonder that we are the leading nation in flu deaths as prescription drugs weaken the individual person and burden the immune system.

    While 80% are on prescription drugs, and how many more on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, modern drug use and abuse in the last 100 to 150 years has become the new sick norm.

    Alcohol and tobacco are corporate, and prescription drugs too. The first 2 for enjoyment and habituation and addiction , the latter prescription drugs partially for recovering from the effects of the former.

    But responsibility for the dilemma of prescription drugs lies in the financial philosophy of medical masking (there’s that “mask” word again) or hiding of people‘s signs and symptoms of disease, including all those related medical tests that lead to more and more prescription drugs, and medical profession income, and pharmaceutical corporate profits, and an obvious debilitated sick nation, requiring an epidemic of prescription drugs just to cope with the advertised and utilized non-nutrient diet and American lifestyle by fueling and promoting terminal victims of seasonal flu virus, unfortunately taking the lives of 94% of those people with pre-existing diseases and their toxic, and immune system burdening, prescription drugs.

    And if people say this virus is different from the regular seasonal virus that sickens and kills annually in the same approximate numbers, the only difference is that Covid19 virus’ new vaccines from different pharmaceutical corporations are giving other people the patents on, and profits from, the upcoming competing and developed hastily with warp speed…lab disease vaccines trying unsuccessfully to mimic the Covid19 virus itself. Meaning the vaccine will not provide immunity or protection from the Covid19 virus, but will sicken some, perhaps kill some others but mainly will result in mass profits for some of the pharmaceutical companies.

    The challenge is how do you reverse the neglect of so many peoples’ health when they have been led to ignore health and instead have been participating in a lengthy prescription drug plan for, ask yourself, have you been taking these drugs already for 1-5 decades.

    And if the prescription drugs are petrochemicals and therefore carcinogenic, is it any wonder you have cancer too?

    Since ill-conceived chronic decades-long treatments (say isn’t that in itself cause for alarm and questioning of the inefficiency of prescription drug treatments) from the cause of eating non-nutritious food (the only food available) and inactive and other lifestyle errors, (limited by excess of screen time whether a 60” or a 6” screen), the progenitors of this schematic dilemma is brought to us by the petrochemical industry supporting the pharmaceutical industry, supporting the medical industry, supporting the prescription drug writing people, your medical care specialist, sending you to the local pharmacist finalizing the hand to your mouth doses of prescription drugs, paid for by your friendly health insurance company or government plan. (Isn’t that rut ready for a proactive change to legitimate old school natural Health Care.

    The 94% usually elderly, but can be any age, sick people with the multiple chronic degenerative end of life diseases taking end of life prescription drugs, and those 6% who die and who are initially very sick and severely sick from the Covid19 virus, shouldn’t we as a caring and responsible society concentrate our efforts in isolating both these 94% and 6% groups of people for their own protection from the virus, and actually provide them nutritious Foods, and Sun, FreshClean Water, Fresh Clean Air, adequate Rest , and appropriate Exercise?

    Sounds like a safe and sane and sanitary plan to prevent death and optimize these people’s active healthy life longevity.

    And when it comes to profit sharing vaccine reimbursement, another plan that is reasonable is that any and all income from all the vaccine sales be used to reimburse all losses to individuals, businesses, and government first, and then let the pharmaceutical industry enjoy their profits. Who could disagree who are in the 3 loss categories.

  6. Michael September 29, 2020 4:38 am Reply

    Mr. O’Neal’s comments echo the sentiments of those Kauai’s residents who know what is about to happen. Ignoring the science is just plain foolish. The safest place in the world (Kauai) is about to join every other city/nation who ignored the science. Citizens of Kauai, bombard Governor Ige’s mail box with letters of complaint and concern, pleading to alter the re-opening plan to include a second test after arrival. Our lives depend on it.

    Michael Diamant, MD

  7. Westside Resident September 29, 2020 7:08 am Reply

    If we remain like this for a couple or few years, and do not open up without quarantine, we may avoid the virus.

  8. Anita September 29, 2020 7:15 am Reply

    Steve’s comment is right on! Let’s preserve what we have while we can. The statistics are there and we’re blundering forward in spite of them. We have the unique opportunity to do the smart thing. I believe the people of Kauai will stand by the mayor if he makes the right choices.

  9. mayr September 29, 2020 7:29 am Reply

    What about Africa/Ghana? They did good with the fake pandemic. WHO should have never changed criteria for pandemic. This is a mutated flu, death rate not worth impositions.

    1. ray September 30, 2020 6:32 am Reply

      Covid19 is like the flu about as much as you are like a chicken. Genetically, anyway.

  10. RG DeSoto September 29, 2020 7:39 am Reply

    Well Steve, if you’re so petrified just lock yourself down and stay huddled in your house for the next couple of years.
    In the meantime, do some reading and research. You’ll discover that many of the world’s top epidemiologists do NOT recommend a one size fits all lock-down. No, instead they are saying that the most effective approach would have been a targeted one. That is, protect the elderly and vulnerable (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseased and immune compromised). Let the rest of society live their lives. Harvard Medical school’s Martin Kulldorf is a good one to start with.
    Of course in the end the most important statistical evidence will be EXCESS deaths…that is the difference between overall mortality this year vs. the average for the last five years. This is important because we cannot trust the current Covid only data. There is simply too much over reporting and non-differentiation between those dying FROM Covid vs those dying WITH Covid.
    RG DeSoto

    1. Doug September 29, 2020 3:26 pm Reply

      Martin Kulldorf Is both mocked openly by many epidemiologists and angers many by stating false information. When you pick and chose facts instead of going with the overall agreed upon ones by most scientists, you get what America now has, which is 20% of the world’s cases with on 4% of the worlds population

  11. PAUL LOIZEAUX September 29, 2020 7:43 am Reply

    I completely agree with the editorial’s suggestion that there be a second, on-island test after arrival and that arriving passengers (tourists and returning locals) need to quarantine until the results of the second, on-island test are negative. As for costs, use some of this CARES Act money to finance the tests or require passengers to pay for it themselves. This way Kauai can be a basically coronavirus free island which will make it the ideal destination for high spending tourists who will stay for many weeks. Yes, there will be fewer tourists, but they will be wealthier and presumably will spend more for a safe destination. Get rid of the virus first and then we will get our economy back.

  12. nobody September 29, 2020 8:09 am Reply

    Problem is Tahiti can’t create wealth by printing currency like the US. If some other country was willing to bail them out my guess is they would of kept closed. Now, if Kauai can find someone to bail us out, let’s do it.

    I think we should start thinking about how we are going to protect the health compromised. This virus will spread like a wildfire if we continue to behave the way we are doing now. It’s been nice while it lasted.

  13. Dr Jim September 29, 2020 8:21 am Reply

    I think the author raises some very important points.

    First, Kauai has not yet really had to deal with the reality of Covid 19. Our children can still go to school without being terribly concerned about getting infected, we can still see are elderly without worrying about killing them, and we can more or less go about our daily activities without being terribly concerned about our health. But that will all change when we have community spread in great numbers.

    Second, because we are on a remote island, the health consequences of our becoming sick are much more significant, and our chances of overwhelming our health system are much greater. Once there are enough sick people here, people will be unable to get medical care.

    And lastly, there is no reasonable alternative for quarantine until such time as we have adequate testing. While we have done a good job with contact tracing so far, when we are letting dozens of infected people onto the island every day, that will completely fall apart. When there is adequate testing, there will still be in need for some period of quarantine between tests not to keep the virus off the island, but to limit the number of cases that get on the island to something that can be managed by the contact tracers and our healthcare system.

    I absolutely understand the impact that this is having financially on people. I guess you have to weigh that against the value of being able to allow your children to go to school and to see their grandparents. Against being able to go about your day with relative normalcy. I think you have to weigh it against the cost and long term health consequences caused by the disease, and deaths. As the virus disproportionately affects and kills people with hypertension, obesity and diabetes, we may want to consider how it’s going to impact the local population.

  14. nobody September 29, 2020 8:41 am Reply

    So once again it will be up to our mayor to get us through this. In looking back I believe the 9 pm curfew may have been the tipping point in squelching this virus on Kauai.

  15. Chamundi Sabanathan September 29, 2020 8:47 am Reply

    The two active cases we have on Kauai now–both linked to mainland–were not infectious while on the plane. So they would also have been non-infectious 72 hours before flight. Fortunately they were still in quarantine when they finally tested positive.

    Relying on a pre-flight test and lifting the quarantine is a recipe for disaster.

  16. Jon emanuel September 29, 2020 11:06 am Reply

    Mr.O’Neal’s comments are well reasoned are don’t contain the normal anti tourist diatribe usually contained in this column. The problem however is that
    Kauai is facing a devastating
    economic crisis. Unlike Maui,
    Oahu, and the big island, absent tourism, there is very
    little opportunity for economic viability. With the recent cut in unemployment
    benefits, many in Kauai are
    starting to feel real pain given the high cost of living.
    So the Mayor is faced with
    the delicate balancing act of
    protecting the COVID gains made with the need not to
    permanently destroy a large
    section of the economy.
    With no more PPP money coming from, many local businesses will be forced to close permanently. The livelihoods of not merely the owners but their employees
    may be lost forever. The
    tourists will undoubtedly come back in force once there is a vaccine. As for the
    lost businesses and jobs, that’s another story.

  17. cynthia toth September 29, 2020 12:19 pm Reply

    It’s actually horrifying what the lack of leadership is subjecting the people to. What’s the goal? Keep covid out of Hawaii and not let it spread further. There’s a clear recipe for success based on examples of failures of Bahamas opening and then closing three weeks later, Tahiti – same thing opening and now they are polluted with the spread to everyone. How is it we want to follow the failures and not the successes? Example NZ, strict quarantine, mobilized contact tracing, has not as much bent in the wind to allow the virus to go undetected. Testing is above reproach in comparison to many countries and especially w regard to a comparable island state of Hawaii. No one should board a plane without a pretest- Period! No excusing anyone – 7 day strict quarantine for all – and on days 6 & 7 testing – then a person is good to go when it’s negative. That’s how you keep covid out. Protecting our citizens is first priority, then with that comes healthy tourists and flourishing businesses. Without the above protocols in place, Hawaii is only going to fail and get ready folks – another shut down will take place shortly thereafter tourists come in.

  18. noah September 29, 2020 1:18 pm Reply

    Great insight Steve. I’m born and raised on Kauai. I would love to go back to work which involves commuting to Oahu. I’m glad your thinking about others while you sit in your home that’s likely paid for. It’s easy for those that brought their wealth and retired hear to have a voice of keep our borders shut.

    1. Citizen Cane September 29, 2020 4:43 pm Reply

      Problem is, Noah, that if you don’t first deal with the virus, there will never be enough tourism to alleviate all the economic pain. I lost a business too—22 years in the making right here. Kauai’s been in a great position for some time now to become a safe destination, but it will require proper testing and controls and avoiding the mistakes made elsewhere. I’m afraid the governor’s plan falls short. Not a huge surprise. Blow it this time and it will cost months.

  19. Two_cents_for_free September 29, 2020 2:26 pm Reply

    Short-term thinking will cause long-term headaches for Kauai. With the rush to return to normal, tourism fails to respond to The New Normal. With millions of newly designated remote workers, an opportunity arises to market Kauai as a long term workation station (destination) or COVID safe haven.

    Not enough folks depending on tourism dollars have come to grips with the changes the virus has brought and that is the greatest risk to the island community evolving to meet opportunity. Long gone are the one week vacations in paradise, otherwise you also invite COVID. Kauai must adapt to what the market will support based on new decisions made by COVID weary consumers. What is the value in this segment? Are people willing to pay more for peace of mind? Where is the research on the economic benefit of this new market?

    The data presented in this article shows conclusively that relaxed quarantine rules will lead to community spread. This is a fact. Is Kauai’s medical infrastructure prepared? Are residents prepared for kapuna to pay the cost?

    There is a win-win solution here for the island, but there must be a desire by the community to put human life before money for a way forward to reveal itself.

  20. nobody September 29, 2020 4:17 pm Reply

    Haves: Close it down.
    Have nots: Open it up.

    Human nature.

    Truth is if we don’t open up to tourism really soon many have nots will be forced to move off island to feed their families. Just another chapter in the story of Kauai’s different migrations.

    1. everyone else September 30, 2020 6:35 am Reply

      And if you open up too soon, with too lax rules, people die.

  21. Katherine Kirk September 29, 2020 5:13 pm Reply

    A Test a Day During Your Stay

    How about a solution instead of feeling helpless? I felt compelled to send this to our mayor today. I also sent it to the Lt. Governor. I am retired and live on Kauai. My children are active participants in the community. My grandchildren go to school on this island. My heart is here and I hope we can prevent the community spread that is predicted by scientific data, when visitors are welcomed back to the island.


    A Test a Day During Your Stay

    I wanted to share this testing option and testing possibilities for Kauai and all of the islands in Hawaii.

    Is it possible to have the airlines and the hotel industry help out with the expense of this type of test? At such a reasonable rate both industries could add tests into their pricing model for airfares and hotel accommodations. Test once at departure, test in the morning at the hotel and if the test is negative, you are good to go. If a visitor is positive a quarentine solution would be available. I don’t usually send this type of email. I have been thinking about this since I read the article below and felt compelled to pass this along. Also, how about direct flights only from the mainland to Kauai?

    Thank you,

    Katherine Kirk


  22. Elitist September 29, 2020 5:15 pm Reply

    spoken like a true elitist who doesn’t need to be bothered with earning a living.
    how nice it must be, to sit in your fancy house, keeping others out of work.

    1. Ron Rodarte September 29, 2020 8:32 pm Reply

      Elitist: Just as older patients are more at risk from Covid-19, so are they usually retired after a long working career. There is nothing elitist about a retired worker. We all look forward to that stage of life. Let’s live to see retirement.
      The failure of the President, Congress and Senate to advise and protect the American citizens during the pandemic economic struggle must change, and it will only change by voting for change on November 3.
      Let’s get some helpful people in power, and send the grifters and criminals packing.
      Older retirees are not elitists, they are trying to survive a little bit longer.

    2. Common September 30, 2020 6:37 am Reply

      Spoken like someone who will build a story to fit their predetermined narrative. Must be nice to always be right that way.

      Listen, with tourism taking a hit, we all suffer. But with the virus spreading on the island, many would die, maybe even you.

  23. Ron Rodarte September 29, 2020 8:18 pm Reply

    Bites: Covid-19 is a blood disease. At an earlier stage it was seen to be more deadly in particular blood types.
    There are those with pre-existing conditions who succumb quickly.
    Children succumb quickly, as well as teens and young adults. Some have long term effects and many have heart disease and neurological damage after a case of non-symptomatic infection.
    Russian Roulette would be a good name for the game of picking life and death cases in Covid-19.
    Don’t play Russian Roulette.
    You don’t win.

  24. Steve O'Neal September 29, 2020 8:34 pm Reply

    Thank you all for engaging in this conversation.

    To be clear, I am pro opening, pro responsible tourism, and pro getting as many people back to work as possible.

    But I’m not for opening in a nonsensical manner that science, precedent and a lot of local doctors are saying will backfire, result in unnecessary deaths, and fully kill the economy when we lock back down weeks later.

    Our Mayor and District Health Officer have done an amazing job, and yet neighbor island mayors learned of the reopening date (Oct 15) and terms (1 test and no quarantine) from the media. They have been put into a corner, without even enough resources to test properly, and I truly hope my article helps open up some space for them.

    These terms have been set by off-island leadership that, however well intentioned, has failed us. Now they are going to ask us to reopen without sufficient test capacity, and in a manner that other tourist destinations (Tahiti, Alaska, Bahamas, Maldives…) have to their great loss, demonstrated will not work.

    And they are treating Kaua’i, with almost no cases, in the same manner as Oahu, with thousands of cases. We’re being sandbagged daily with media appearances by state leadership saying to just throw the doors fully open, quickly before it is too late.

    This is nonsense. Common sense and prudence would mean we carefully open up with a phased approach, dismantling our “fence” one piece at a time to see how we do.

    An obvious place to start is to see if we can use testing to reduce quarantine time. Surely more people will visit if just a 7 day quarantine versus the current 14.

    The science seems to show two things. First, that almost no one test positive days 1- of exposure, but that almost everyone tests positive by the 7th day of infection. Second, that the PCR tests are most accurate around the 7th or 8th day.

    So let’s start with a two test protocol with a shorter but still strict quarantine, until one tests out on day 7. If that works, then we can see if we can move the dial down further.


  25. Kauaidoug September 30, 2020 5:48 pm Reply

    Test before and test at the airport and don’t go anywhere until your clear. At tourist expense. Why should we shoulder that cost? It’s a cost of travel at this time. Let the tourist choose.
    But we have come too far to just throw the doors open therby letting Covid19 in, start an outbreak, close schools and we will be far worse off then than we are right now. We must stand our ground to keep the virus at bay. If we do that people will beat a path to our door when it is safe to travel.

    1. Reina October 3, 2020 9:38 am Reply

      Health before money. Health before money no matter what.

      We can only voice our opinions, as everyone seems to think they are right.

      It will be up to our Leaders to do the right thing.

      No matter how hard we try, the virus will make its presence known. Its just a number thing

      The 9pm curfew was probably the SMARTEST thing that the Mayor did.

      Lock Kauai down for 2 yrs is what i say. Rich or poor

  26. Thomas Pickett September 30, 2020 6:02 pm Reply

    This is an aggressive and persistent virus. Mr. Mayor please do not lift the 14 day quarantine. Keep the national guard, keep the contact tracing. Protecting the people will in the end protect a robust economic recovery.

    1. Reina October 3, 2020 9:39 am Reply

      Well said Mr Pickett

  27. I saw a Vampire once October 1, 2020 11:06 am Reply

    The arrivals into Kauai has always been a spin-off of the arrivals into Oahu. A good indication of arrivals into Kauai is the United Airlines news furlough and Hawaiian Airline news furloughs. They are no longer working. No flight or tourist coming to Kauai. HTA numbers on arrivals through 8 months in August 2020 was at 2.2 million visitors. In 2019 the same month, it was 7.1 million visitors. Down 69%. That means on any given day of the month, it would be a 98% drop compared to 2019, from August 2020. I cannot see how putting UH football Mountain West on to start on October 24, is going to help the economy. The number of cases on COVID-19 is increasing. The death toll has increased 2.41 times the amount from 55 in August to 133. Now. I do not see how they plan to minimize spreading and opening up the economy. I think the original plan to cancel all sports on a college level looks good and should continue on into 2021. Fall sports for college should be cancelled. As for tourist, they can come but make do without college sports.

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