VOICES: Rep. Saiki proposal serves O‘ahu, not Kaua‘i

Dear Senator Kouchi and Representatives Morikawa, Nakamura, and Tokioka;

Kaua‘i needs your intervention to mount an energetic opposition to the bill that House Speaker Saiki has announced he intends to introduce early in the next legislative session.

The expected bill would impose on the mayors of neighbor islands the obligation to all follow a single rule for admission of arriving travelers to the state.

Such a move would thereby strip each mayor of the ability to use close knowledge of his island in determining the safest protocol to meet the needs of the island he governs.

Saiki justifies the imposition of uniformity by a desire to reduce confusion for travelers and the travel industry.

If uniformity is really to be desired, then the uniform rules should be those that have proved the most successful, rather than the ones that have led to surges in cases, much suffering and loss of life.

Unfortunately, the rules that Saiki intends to implement are those of the ill-advised “safe travels” protocol that has already failed to protect the population of this state.

Below is some history and data that show why Kaua‘i needs our delegation to crush this attempt to deprive our mayor of his ability to govern properly.

Although the information I will present is specific to Kaua‘i, it might be useful to try to create a neighbor-island coalition in opposition to a bill that would tie the hands of all neighbor-island mayors.

We, on Kaua‘i, are fortunate to have suffered far less than other islands due mainly to the excellent work of both Mayor Kawakami and Dr. Janet Berreman.

They have been a team that used the best science and a large dose of ingenuity to steer Kaua‘i around the pitfalls of an evolving pandemic situation that was poorly handled at the state level.

The regulations that they have introduced, even as they found their hands tied at various junctures, have kept us safer and more open than elsewhere in the state.

For the first seven months of the pandemic, once sanitation protocols had been put into place and the population had adapted to new advice and rules to minimize contact, this island alone had many days, and even many consecutive weeks without a single case.

Kaua‘i saw a total of 59 cases during the first seven months of the pandemic, from March 13, when the first two infected travelers introduced it to the island, through the Oct. 15 “opening” of Hawai‘i to travelers on the basis of a single pre-test.

That “opening” did not, in fact, open anything, but only eliminated the safety net provided by a well-enforced quarantine.

Allowing a single pre-test to exempt travelers from quarantine flew in the face of known best-public-health practices, and has continued to do so since then.

In pushing for a protocol that he had designed, Lt. Gov. Green argued that the system would miss only one infected traveler per 1,000 arrivals.

He held to that argument even as critics pointed out that the experience elsewhere where only a single pre-test was used had resulted in the arrival of infected travelers far in excess of his expected one per thousand.

The results in Hawai‘i predictably and unfortunately followed those that had already been observed elsewhere, and our state began to receive approximately seven infected travelers per 1,000 arrivals.

In contrast with the 59 total cases of COVID-19 over those seven months, the cumulative count more than tripled to over 200 in only three months following the “opening.”

Average daily cases jumped to as many as 2.6 in some seven-day periods.

Put in other terms, Kaua‘i went from about two cases per week to about 10 cases per week, solely attributable to the unsafe and misnamed “Safe Travels” plan.

This plan seeded the virus into the population and created the conditions for community spread.

During that period, a traumatized local population collectively mourned the death of a well-known resident who may have been infected while shuttling people from the airport to their hotel.

The burden had become one that Kaua‘i could no longer tolerate.

When it became clear that the elimination of quarantine had resulted in a dangerous upward trend of cases, Mayor Kawakami attempted to introduce mitigation measures.

The response by the state was to pressure him to back down, and to block the measures, sometimes without even any public reply or justification.

Finally, when all other measures failed to gain the required approval, Kawakami announced that Kaua‘i was opting out of the state program on Dec. 2.

Members of the Kaua‘i delegation, I call upon you to support Mayor Kawakami, and take the steps necessary to block Rep. Saiki from pushing through a proposal that serves O‘ahu and not Kaua‘i.

It is an attempt to keep Mayor Kawakami from governing his island as this island needs. It is a proposal that will cause additional suffering and most likely additional deaths.

You are well aware that the death count from COVID-19 for each of the other islands continues to rise.

We have not escaped that same fate by accident, but by good governance. Kaua‘i’s measures are far safer and will best allow our case count to decline, our schools to re-open safely and our economy to revive and survive. Please block this dangerous bill.

•••

Phyllis Albert, Ph.D., is a resident of Koloa.

15 Comments
  1. I saw a Vampire once January 20, 2021 1:25 am Reply

    Absolutely. The numbers on Kaua’i are lower and so there is no need for any changes to the protocol to keeping COVID-19 under control and in quarantine area for all of Kaua’i. More travelers to Kaua’i will mean a greater risk for others getting COVID-19. They should continue what they were doing and monitor everyone coming into the island as they have done so. No changes needed.


  2. Helen Rivera January 20, 2021 2:08 am Reply

    Aloha Phylis would you fill us in on what your PhD is in?

    The well known person who died was a victim of cancer and his 85 years was well lived and loved. His alleged Covid cause of death was quickly retracted and still is except in the Honolulu paper. Cancer with its attendant prescription drugs kills far too many and does not need an add on additional applicable cause of death to satisfy the virus mongers.

    Rep Saiki correctly speaks for the majority of the state, since when the money runs out even government workers wil be in this altogether with the rest of us except those on fixed independent incomes watching the rest suffer mentally, physically, and financially. Perhaps with a PhD one can be independently wealthy, believe it unemployed parents with a family and mortgage cannot afford this created crisis.

    For one independently high paid citizen, the mayor, with one medical adviser apparently not fully informed, to destroy the rest of us is ignorance and arrogance unfit for our community’s well being.

    To sacrifice families and businesses, and schooling and sports, of the majority, for the minority of the grossly obese, diabetic, heart and stroke diseased, and those with cancer, is to coddle, aid and abet those people’s’ disease lifestyles, who should be quarantined, educated as to health, instead of medicated and allowed to perpetuate their diseases until they prematurely die is a disservice to the entire island.

    Those at high risk for death don’t need the rest of us to suffer for their uneducated disease lifestyles, those at high risk need nutrition and education as to healthy lifestyle.

    It is sad to see the obese in their condition out shopping without a clue to save themselves. Stop ignoring them, you are being cruel to human beings, and disastrous to the rest of us.

    Let our economy open and let us pay with Aloha to protect those at high risk.

    Go online and listen to American Frontline Doctors. They know better than a mayor and a single medical advisor. They think they are saving those at high risk from the flu today, only to allow them to die prematurely tomorrow from their pre-existing, co-morbidity end of the life diseased complicated and made more severe by the highly toxic and lethal prescription drugs they are taking.
    Get off your high horses and proactively protect these minority high risk citizens with their chronic diseases.


    1. Loladog January 20, 2021 6:24 pm Reply

      Hi Helen,
      My PhD. Is in Chemistry from Cornell University. I’m not saying that I am both smarter and monetarily better than you. Just smarter. Ignorance and arrogance?
      Woof!


    2. Loladog January 20, 2021 6:34 pm Reply

      Helen,
      I am not saying that I am both monetarily and intellectually superior to you. Just smarter. Ph.D in Chemistry, Cornell University. Since you asked. What does it matter to you? I’m not overweight, much.

      Woof!


  3. Da Shadow January 20, 2021 4:11 am Reply

    Dr Albert: another rich, entitled person who’s completely out of touch.
    How tone-deaf can you be, when half the island suffers from the dramatic drop in income?
    How fearful does one have to be, to want to stifle everyone’s freedoms because of her own, selfish beliefs?
    If you’re so scared, stay home Dr Albert. The rest of us are ready to put a mask on and get on with life.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.


  4. Beverly Olsen January 20, 2021 8:21 am Reply

    I agree with the author and am in total apposition to the Saiki proposal. However, I am not clear on how and when to go about blocking it. Perhaps, the author could or someone else can enlighten me on how to go about this.
    BAO


    1. Loladog January 20, 2021 6:36 pm Reply

      I am also in apposition! What, what?


  5. Doug January 20, 2021 8:47 am Reply

    Amen Phyllis! Well written and spot on! But it won’t do any good, Mufi and his henchmen are bent on killing this island and Saiki is in their pocket!!


  6. The Big Kahauna January 20, 2021 9:52 am Reply

    I applaud Mayor effort to buy time to understand the COVID-19 crisis. It’s now time to open up the island as the first responders, teachers and the highest risk of dying have been vaccinated. Living in constant fear, many folks losing lifelong business, jobs lost and the reality that very few have died. There is financial carnage of destruction that will last years with higher property taxes looming.
    The bubble is not making a dent in tourism the life blood of Kauai. A recent search for the top 10 destination does not include Hawaii and Kauai is off the map. Be careful what you wish for!


  7. Frank Kelly January 20, 2021 11:08 am Reply

    Phyllis Albert’s article is reasonable until the last paragraph. Therein she draws 3 conclusion 2 of which her argument does not support. “…our schools to reopen safely and our economy to revive and survive.”
    Studies from 121 countries conclude there is no evidence linking in person schooling, K-12, with a rise in Covid-19 cases. The reason our schools are not open is the teachers union. Tourism as we knew it not coming back. Should it? How tourism does return for the benefit of the Island and its residents and the quality of the experience for future tourists needs to be thoroughly discussed and carefully implemented if we wish to avoid finding ourselves in the same predicament we were prior to Covid-19.
    And yes, I agree with her basic argument that the out Islands should not be bullied by Oahu. We can hope!


  8. Kerry R January 20, 2021 1:15 pm Reply

    In agreement with your post, 100 percent. They’re sacrificing what we’ve done on Kauai. And if there was ever Proof that the media is a propaganda machine, check out the many articles that came out TODAY in USA Today ad several other national newspapers trying to pin the downturn in tourism to Oahu, Maui etc on …..Kauai! Of course they timed it to dovetail with legislative session.
    We from Kauai and we see this, all of it.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2021/01/20/covid-travel-hawaii-kauai-businesses-struggle-under-coronavirus-rules/4232768001/


  9. Kim Novax January 20, 2021 10:48 pm Reply

    With Trumpy Bear gone, we will be hear more and more about Covid and Vax.

    The Covid Vaccine:
    1.) Is not a vaccine
    2.) Was not allowed to be registered with the FDA as a vaccine.
    3.) but is REGISTERED with the FDA as EXPERIMENTAL, because at Warp Speed to complete it, the mixture of chemicals you think is a vaccine did not undergo the safety and efficacy tests needed to not be called EXPERIMENTAL, it has not passed the tests to be considered safe, nor has it been tested do what it purports to do.
    4.). The FDA allowed this concoction of chemicals to be registered as an experimental Gene Therapy. In other words the pharmaceutical companies are having you be injected with unknown genes which disrupt your body’s gene balance. And by injecting it they are forcing the gene therapy into your bidu, bypassing the safety protection of your immune system.
    5.) Because this concoction is not a vaccine you will not develop any immunity to the Covid-19 virus, nor will you become non-contagious when you do get the Covid-19 virus. You will readily spread it to others.
    6.) You will still have to wear a mask, distance yourself 6’ from others and squint your eyes with drugs so that you will not be infected through your eyes by others.
    7.) To avoid infection via your eyes you will need to wear tight fitting goggles with anti-fog chemicals so you can see out.
    8.) You will have to adapt, if you can, to the toxic chemicals in the concoction.
    9.) It may be years before the Experimental Gene Therapy being injected into you will become known as to what are the side effects of the mysterious gene, will it become beneficial or detrimental since it is unknown to us and experimental both.
    10.) The big Question is why are they not giving you a vaccine, and instead you are getting a experimental gene therapy.
    11.) Therapy is a treatment, are they telling you what you are being treated for, when you think you have nothing wrong in the first place…yet.
    12.) Did you agree to volunteer to be experimented on?
    13.) Promised and baited with a vaccine and then switched with an experimental gene therapy.How rude,how unscientific, How scary, and you thought the Covid-19 virus was scary?
    14.) Welcome to Government Sci-Fi…! Where your future is an unknown experiment.
    15.) God gave you all the genes you need for your genetic make up, now your trusty pharmaceutical industry is giving you experimental gene therapy, whether you like it ir not, or need it or not.
    16.) Don’t the pharmaceutical drug companies make enough pills and injections with their horrible toxic poisonous and/or lethal side effects.
    17.) What if the side effects damage one or more of your vital organs and you have to accept a shortened life.
    18.) How does a PhD in chemistry protect you from petrochemical experimental gene therapy? Time will tell if can or if no can…!


  10. Aloha808 January 21, 2021 10:32 am Reply

    Many support the Mayor’s decisions, however many know that the decisions he has made are not sustainable any longer, financially and economically. Saiki’s proposal, shocking to many, will soon be proven to be supported by a majority. Money always wins.


  11. Carol Bagley January 21, 2021 8:36 pm Reply

    Hi,
    How about a solution that is a little broader and will protect from the virus and help the economy of Kauai.
    1. Allow visitors who come with a completed vaccination COVID card and a NAAP pretest that would screen for vaccinated asymptomatic carriers in, without having to quarantine.
    2. Hv visitors take a NAAP pretest 5 days before arrival and upon arrival with a negative test, take another quick COVID test. Allow them to rent a car and do shopping, of course, with masks. Allow them to go to accomidations which will quarantine them more efficiently than “bubbles”. Results from test taken at airport would be quickly emailed to them. Most likely almost all tests would be negative.
    Two more comments:
    1. Staying in a bubble resort costs as much or more than staying in a condo for a week! Who wants that!
    2. We are lucky to have someone in government who has current medical expertise, Dr Green. Use him.

    CBagley, RN,PhD


    1. Doug January 23, 2021 7:46 am Reply

      Green is only an ER doctor who is in way above his head and is also in the pocket of the tourist industry.


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