Letters for Monday, November 30, 2020

COVID not exaggeration, it’s a calamity

I’ve seen too many letters and opinion pieces in The Garden Island suggesting that COVID-19 is not a big deal. Writers suggest that it’s mostly just sick old people who are dying, and that the death count is exaggerated. I’m not sure where they get their information, but neither is accurate.

Many formerly-healthy younger people are hit hard by the novel virus. My own nephew, who is 42 and had no pre-existing conditions, now has pneumonia, kidney failure, a stroke and pancreatic failure. He’s been struggling for his life for three weeks, and it seems like a big deal to his family.

As to the death count, it’s actually quite a bit higher than the official numbers, not lower. Those numbers track the people who died with (and arguably from) the virus. But many people have died without being tested, and many others have died because the pandemic made it hard for them to access medical care (or they were afraid to). The number of people who have died in the U.S. since February is more than 400,000 above the number who died during the same period last year. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s a calamity.

The bottom line is that it’s a good thing to respect the people who live around us, and work together to protect each other.

David Lemon, Lihu‘e

Kawakami policies draconian

My wife operates a tourist shop on Kalapaki Beach, next to the Marriott hotel.

We were hopeful that the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic was behind us. We’ve suffered hugely negative economical damage since the quarantine was established this past spring. Sales were showing a positive uptick the last two weeks since pre-testing exemptions were allowed. However, now that you have chosen to re-establish a COVID-19, 14-day quarantine on Kaua‘i, we will likely be forced into bankruptcy.

This epidemic has caused tremendous hardship, and your willingness to keep your draconian policies in effect are rendering us insolvent.

It apparently is of no consequence to you that this is so for so many of us operating private businesses here on Kaua‘i. I only wish that people in your position in government could feel the pain like the private sector has.

I might suggest having an initiative to reduce your salary and paid benefits by fifty percent on the next ballot as a way of leveling the system.

Douglas Sorge, Lihu‘e

Vaccines are an evidence-based practice

I just finished reading a letter printed on Thanksgiving, titled “Health tips to improve immunity,” which advocated for unscientific methods to stay healthy, such as copper tools and ozone therapy.

The most outlandish and irresponsible claim was “vaccinations disturb the energetic integrity of the body.”

I respect the diversity of cultures and their alternative practices to medicine, but when you recommend to the public to avoid getting vaccinated, that is disappointing. Vaccinations eliminated life-threatening diseases such as polio, tetanus and measles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2018-2019, the flu vaccine prevented over 4 million cases.

As a family nurse practitioner, I am driven by evidence-based practice, and it’s simple: Wash your hands. Wear your mask correctly. Exercise. Eat a well-balanced diet. Get vaccinated.

Shantal Guirao Postiglione, DNP, ARNP, Kekaha

Pregnant women have options

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise in the United States, we find ourselves living with many uncertainties. A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine announced that she was having a baby. While everyone gathered around her with great surprise and joy, she stood there with a blank expression on her face. As her family members left the room, she told me that she felt selfish for not being happy about her situation.

There is a stigma attached to pregnancies. Women should be ecstatic, glowing with this new life they’ve created and looking forward to the arrival of their newborn. This isn’t always the case, and society needs to recognize that women are allowed to feel however they need/want to feel.

With the stress of not having a job due to the pandemic, and her partner being furloughed, the thought of bringing a child into the world at this time has caused her stress and anxiety. To make a difficult situation even more upsetting, when she arrived at her doctors for a confirmation of the pregnancy she was met with disbelief.

She asked her primary physician what her options may be in the event that she was not able to have the baby. Her doctor simply stated that “not having your baby is not an option,” and not to worry because “women always feel better knowing that they’ve kept their baby.”

Depriving women from being allowed to have options and making them feel guilty for a choice that should be theirs is unacceptable. Women need access to vital health care, and everyone deserves comprehensive sex education. It is a basic human right.

In solidarity,

Jessica Conner, Kailua-Kona

  1. Aunti Birthi November 30, 2020 7:22 am Reply

    Failing to hint at but failing to say the word abortion is a masking of that act. Abortion is like literally throwing the unborn under the BUS.

    You are to be applauded for recommending sex education assumably to prevent abortion.

  2. james November 30, 2020 7:35 am Reply

    Doug: To quote Bruce Sprignsteen: “Life is tough and getting tougher, times are rough and getting rougher…” I’m sure we all feel bad about your, and the many others’, economic woes during this pandemic. The Mayor didn’t create the pandemic. He is forced to make hard choices between the health of our citizens and the economic health of local businesses who rely on tourism. Do we keep the Island open and risk the health of many and risk overwhelming our healthcare system or go back to the 14 day quarantine modified with bubble resorts. The Mayor opted to give the nod to the health of Kauaians over the economic problems of local businesses. If you have a solution that would allow tourism to resume AND guarantee the health of all of us please share it with us and the Mayor and the Governor.

  3. kauaiboy November 30, 2020 10:30 am Reply

    I stand with you, Douglas Sorge. Be careful, though. “Susan” wrote a comment to the original article about the decision to implement a 14 day quarantine attacked local residents who rely on tourist related income as “local tourism business bullies” and “selfish, greedy predators”.

    Susan is clueless. She does not understand that tourism, and tourist dollars, are our primary economic driver. She, and other like her privileged self, do not have empathy for the tens of thousands of local residents who rely on tourist dollars to survive, and who have been sold down the river by Mayor Kawakami to placate a relatively few hysterical or rich and selfish people like herself.

    Oh boy. No federal stimulus package coming. Unemployment funds about to dry up. Tourist dollars shut out, except for a few idiots foolish enough to buy 14 days at a “resort bubble”, which benefit only the owners of 5 resort properties, and the workers desperate enough to work there . A sudden decision with 3 days notice and no end date in sight, leaving thousands of Kauai bound holiday travelers scrambling to cancel bookings, change flight reservations, and a myriad of other issues.

    Kauai is about to go underwater financially. All the locals impacted by the lack of funds will be unable to pay their mortgages, rents, and property taxes. The mayor will be forced to start government worker furloughs. And I doubt he will answer the many calls that he cut his own salary in half. I would be willing to bet that even Target is re-thinking its plan to open on Kauai.

    Hundreds of residents are now considering how they might choose to end their life if things get worse, and it is not the fear of Covid. It is the fear of economic devastation, the fear of the embarrassment of bankruptcy, the fear of losing their home as well as their business, the fear of having to join the ever-increasing food lines to beg for food from the ever-decreasing supply, the fear of joining the homeless encampments.

    Do you wonder why Maui and Oahu are remaining open for tourism, despite far more deaths and covid cases than Kauai? They get it. They understand. At this point, tourism dollars keep them afloat, and keep hundreds of thousands of families solvent.

    Good luck surviving Kauai. Best wishes for a brighter, smarter, future.

  4. steven November 30, 2020 11:30 am Reply

    The mayor’s decision and the governor’s permission will cause pain far beyond the pandemic. We can recover from Covid-19 but not the flawed policy. For years the flawed policy will infect our island; the holiday timing, the 4 day notice, the choices for Covid hotels, the small business failures, the 20% employment, suicides and drug overdoses. We will become an island of the homeless.

    1. even November 30, 2020 1:59 pm Reply

      The unemployed can seek work elsewhere or utilize the safety net that is provided by the government in times like this. The dead will receive no help, the afflicted will have to live with the consequences forever.

      No one is in this alone, we are all trying to live on the island and get through this.

  5. manawai November 30, 2020 2:28 pm Reply

    My thinking is that the vast majority of people are not deathly susceptible to the the COVID-19 virus. Therefore the draconian lockdowns and quarantine regulations should not be permitted to ruin the livelihoods and lifestyles of the vast majority of island residents and visitors. I think that the weak, infirm, obese, diabetics and those with chronic illnesses or advanced ages are the ones who should be quarantining in their homes so the rest of us can resume our normal lives and business. But Kawakami chooses to punish the majority of us in order to protect the few who should stay home until they can take the vaccine.

    1. Guy December 1, 2020 5:43 pm Reply

      Tell us, please, what is the number of deaths that is acceptable to you?

      1. manawai December 1, 2020 9:23 pm Reply

        You don’t stop all driving because of traffic accidents.

        1. Guy December 3, 2020 1:45 pm Reply

          But we do mitigate them as much as possible. Maybe we should require a license for people walking in public, and force mandatory mask-wearing classes? Just following your logic…

      2. manawai December 1, 2020 9:35 pm Reply

        But “Guy”, if you would carefully read what I said, I said that the weak and infirm should be quarantining and safe (NOT DEAD) so we, the vast majority, who are not weak and infirm can keep the economy going as well as our livelihoods.

        1. Guy December 3, 2020 1:44 pm Reply

          Post the scientific proof that not one single non-weak and non-infirm person has died from this. Or is your definition conveniently retroactive?

          1. Manawai December 3, 2020 6:04 pm

            Better yet, do your own research and tell us how many healthy people have died of the virus. Do you own homework.

          2. Guy December 4, 2020 8:41 pm

            Manawai – that’s not how it works. You made the initial claim. Back it up with the data.

  6. commonsense November 30, 2020 3:10 pm Reply

    How can we go from Tier four to a 14-day quarantine just like that? That is the most paranoid decision our Mayor could make. He won’t lose his livelihood like hundreds, if not thousands of Kaua’i residents will. The destruction of families and Kaua’i’s economy and way of life is far more likely than a Possible illness and or death from COVID. Mr. Kawakami’s decision is not solely based on the health of Kaua’i;s people, but how he fairs for his next political move. The fallout from this decision will last years when it doesn’t have to be that way. COVID will be here long after the quarantine is over.

  7. Carol Bagley, RN, PhD November 30, 2020 3:42 pm Reply

    Carol A Bagley, RN,PhD November 30, 2020 4:47 pm Reply
    I hv empathy for all trying to make the best judgements concerning COVID. I was surprised at the Mayor’s request to essentially cut tourists out. I may hv misunderstood, but what he said was that he wanted to keep Kauai at tier 4 especially to support athletics. Several things:
    × When you first plan a system, you reevaluate it’s success. Right now he is only supporting one group. What about the small businesses including condo owners who are out in the cold because of financial implications? Perhaps, he might redesign the tier system so that it still protects, but also is a little more realistic.
    X wearing of masks and keeping your virus circle small is important. Just because a person is part of your extended family does not mean they are negative for COVID
    x Lt.Governor has come up with a screening system that should put your mind at ease. Let it be implemented. It is sound medically and doable. Visitors are screened within 84 hours of arrival and then rescreened at the airport. This would address the business issues and provide more indepth screening. Now just wear your mask. Thank you.
    Carol Bagley, RN PhD

  8. Peke November 30, 2020 6:14 pm Reply

    A few months ago the Mayor said “we want Kauai to be a destination for the rich not a budget destination.” This is exactly what he did through the fear of Covid. For those of you that feel the Mayor has our best interest at heart wake up, This new rule is all about putting money into his friends pockets that he already promised. He does not care about are well being in the least. I know more people that have died of suicide on Kauai then covid.

  9. WAVE November 30, 2020 7:48 pm Reply



  10. Coral Isles December 1, 2020 4:45 am Reply

    I am writing this because my wife has been crying on and off all day since my daughter cancelled her plans to come with our young granddaughters for Christmas due to the mayor’s new travel restrictions. They are partly escaping the cold winter and mainly returning to Hawaii where all their family lives. It would be difficult enough for the parents to stay in a house for 2 weeks but ridiculous to think 2 young children, born here, could understand why they can’t go to the beach or see their family.
    I am scrambling to try to salvage something from this absurd scenario. They can travel from the mainland to Oahu and stay with family there (who were also coming here), and we can possibly fly there and visit them (at great expense: air, car, hotel, food), and then quarantine when returning home. Not an easy solution. The new rules seem to be an over-reaction considering the more relaxed rules on Oahu and other islands.
    I am 74 and will no doubt die in a few years, as we all will eventually. To me, the greatest danger here is not death, but not being allowed to live! Tourists have the opportunity to go elsewhere for Christmas, those who want to unite with family on Kauai will not have that choice.
    Therefore, I urge the mayor to exempt those who are visiting family (with covid negative tests), from the 14 day quarantine. Destroying Christmas for families will leave a bad memory for a long time.
    Sincerely, Ian Miles

  11. LeAnna Benn December 1, 2020 12:49 pm Reply

    Comprehensive Sex Ed has nothing to do with Covid. It is a form social change according to SEICUS a purveyor of that form of information dissemination. Information is biology not advocating for dangerous lifestyles. All sex ed should include the consequences of behavior. Good information is lacking in the branded name, Comprehensive. Don’t be fooled.

  12. manongindashadow0711 December 1, 2020 4:46 pm Reply

    How many of you believe in God? If you believe there is a God.
    Pray for your health and believe that God is watching over you through the decision(to quarantine for 14 days) of our Mayor Kawakami.

    1. manawai December 1, 2020 9:41 pm Reply

      When did he tell you he backs Kawakami’s plan to protect certain of us? Next time you chat with him, ask him to help our livelihoods, the economy, our children’s’ educations, etc. as well.

      1. Guy December 3, 2020 1:47 pm Reply

        If you believe God is taking an interest, perhaps he’s providing intellect to local leaders, allowing them to make decisions about public safety as balanced against the economy?

      2. manongindashadow0711 December 9, 2020 3:19 pm Reply

        Ask him for youself!

  13. No, steven.....many will NOT recover from Covid-19. Many have died, many more will die. Your island is doing a great job of preventing further death. December 4, 2020 1:39 pm Reply

    steven…NO, many will NOT recover from Covid-19. Your glib comment is appalling.

  14. no memories if they are dead! December 4, 2020 1:41 pm Reply

    no memories for the dead….local families are not exempt.

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