Letters for Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A COVID analogy

You have a beautiful horse and one day while riding, a disheveled man approaches you on a sickly horse and asks “Will you trade horses with me?” You reply, “Of course not, sir. Your horse is ill and can barely walk”. The man then waves behind himself to show a long line of sick and dying horses. “OK, well how many of my horses do you want in exchange for your fine steed?” Shocked by such a terrible offer you say, “None! And be gone!” – and you ride quickly away.

Later you ponder the question: how many sick horses *would* you need for your healthy horse?

Oh, whoops – I’m sorry. Got pretty deep into the analogy thing there. The point of this letter is supposed to be about HB1286. You know, horses / tourists / COVID community spread. Figure it out.

John Patterson, Kapaa

Mayor reconsider your timeframe

Dear Mayor Kawakami: Thank you for your recent statement about more fully reopening Kauai to visitors. And thank you for keeping Kauai safe over the long year of this pandemic.

It is clear that you see how the terrain is changing with regard to Covid. For the past year in Hawaii, 100 cases of Covid has meant roughly 8 hospitalizations, and one to two deaths. Your strategy of catching a spike in cases before it gets a foothold has proven effective in controlling the spread on Kauai.

For the entire length of this pandemic, more cases has meant more deaths. Because of this, the focus on Kauai has always been to avoid cases.

Now, as you noted, vaccines have begun to change the picture.

We have already given over 19,000 shots to Kauaians. In the next month or so we will have vaccinated all of our most at-risk population. Taking the most vulnerable out of the Covid equation through vaccination changes the calculation. It is important to realize that even now, here on Kauai, the old 100/8/1-2 rule of cases/hospitalizations/death is no longer valid because many of those who were at-risk have already been protected.

Staying with the quarantine protocol until we have vaccinated the vulnerable is understandable. But once these people are vaccinated, waiting longer to reopen as we inoculate otherwise healthy people causes more pain and suffering than it gains in social benefit. There is no reason to wait while we vaccinate healthy waiters or front desk staff that do not have comorbidities.

We certainly don’t want people to get Covid, but a balance must be struck to allow for some Covid cases that are unlikely to result in serious illness or death so that our visitor industry can get back to work. With vulnerable people vaccinated, more cases no longer guarantees more deaths.

You said you expect Kauai to rejoin the Safe Travels Program sometime in “late spring.”

Visitors are unlikely to book vacations here until we actually rejoin the Safe Travels Program. Reopening in late spring means missing most June visitor traffic, which is at least 1/3 of our busy summer revenue. And we badly need that business.

Those of us in the visitor industry are desperate. Once the most vulnerable are vaccinated, we should move to rejoin the Safe Travels Program. A target date of late March or early April would allow for vaccinations of all the vulnerable while allowing a safe reopening. It would allow visitors time to plan travel here, and prove to the market that we are truly open again.

Reopening later than April adds no substantial safety benefit and will only result in more economic pain in our community. Please reconsider your timeframe for rejoining the Safe Travels Program.

Michael McGinnis, Kapaa

  1. The Count February 23, 2021 12:22 am Reply

    Good comment,but it has been ZERO Deaths.

    Let’s hope your guess as to the efficacy of the vaccine is correct.

    Yes stop quarantine. It’s interfering with and delaying the cycle of the virus departure.

  2. nobody February 23, 2021 5:23 am Reply


    I think if the increase in the number of suicides and suicide attempts as a result of the financial impact of the crisis were published we might reconsider what we think the larger health crisis really is. Strange that those numbers are too taboo to share and publish??

    Our mayor should consider the drastic drop in cases on the mainland and rethink his strategy and timeline. Hopefully he’s not playing politics with people’s lives.

    1. Reality Bites February 23, 2021 2:48 pm Reply

      Japan suicides in 2020 = 20,000

      Japan COVID deaths in 2020 = 2,000

      Population of Japan = ~126M

      Stop the Scamdemic madness!

      1. Truth Hurts February 24, 2021 1:53 pm Reply

        If there were only 20,000 suicides in Japan last year that would be a continuation of the downward trend. 2019 had 20,169, 2018 had 20,840, etc:

        Stop your scamming.

  3. Kaaona Kipuka February 23, 2021 9:21 am Reply

    Money money money money, MONEY!!! The song from the O’jay’s should be the HTA’s theme song… Because that’s all they’re worried about.. That almighty dollar…$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ so sad!!!

  4. Matthew Hunt February 23, 2021 11:22 am Reply

    Unfortunately, we will likely be rolling our Spring vacation again to next year due to the resort bubble requirement. The added cost and time is too much for us to handle. Would love to come and support the island community.

  5. Paulo February 23, 2021 11:25 am Reply

    Mr McGinnis, when most of Kauai’s residents and all of the vulnerable are vaccinated check back with us. Right now the mayor is holding tight till we get there. And you claiming that it will be wrong to reopen later than April is meaningless at this point in February.

  6. kauaiboy February 23, 2021 2:31 pm Reply

    Dear John Patterson,

    So imagine you that used to have a healthy horse economy-society but it hasn’t been properly fed for a year. This poor horse is starving, and becoming desperate.

    Along comes a man with a horse economy that has relatively few issues but is vibrant and alive and ready to work and pull the County cart.

    Would you trade? I would, in a heartbeat.

    Open Kauai safely with the State Safe Travels program, and feed all the work horses!

  7. kauaiboy February 23, 2021 3:09 pm Reply

    A very reasonable request, Michael McGinnis.

    Please let us know when and if Mayor Kawakami genuinely responds, instead of touting how well his corporate pals at the “bubble resorts” are doing and how he figures “…we are in a good place”, as per his Feb 18 TGI guest editorial.

    Kauai is a great place, but we cannot enjoy it while we bleed money for lack of business.

  8. I saw a Vampire once February 23, 2021 5:27 pm Reply

    I think being vaccinated is only part of it. Wearing face mask according to Dr. Fauci, of which makes more money than you, we will need to wear a face mask all the way into 2022. There is a reason why this is so. The face mask protects the person against unwanted virus from the air from entering through our mouths, nose. It is these water droplets that carry the virus that they are trying to protect us from. If the virus lands on us, any cut or wound will be infected by the virus when it attaches itself to us. From there the virus mutates. Makes identical copies of infection on the wound or cut. To prevent this they say we need to use a face mask. That is just one way a virus enters into our bodies. There other avenues a virus may enter, but this is just stating one way it makes its way through. If it gets worse, I think they’ll be other measures to use to protect us. As of now, the quarantine rule is the most effective method from warding off the viruses from our bodies. It kills it. The virus suffocates when no breathing room is allowed and the virus is contained in one area or location. Just that. It cannot mutate. So no other viruses enter during quarantine. I think they should open up free quarantine areas at hotels around the island for all residents. That way people will see what it is like to recover. And make it 14 days again. This would do. I think they should continue with this process and not slack with the quarantine rule and face mask wearing.

  9. Wahoo February 23, 2021 6:54 pm Reply

    The entire premise behind Mr. McGinnis’ point is that the vulnerable population – group 1C by CDC/ACIP guidelines, which includes residents over the age of 65 and with health conditions that correlate to high COVID hospitalization rates. – will be vaccinated “in the next month or so” is unfortunately unrealistic. Even if 100% of our most vulnerable received their first vaccination shot *today*, then they wouldn’t be protected until April. And reality is, because of limited supply the Count of Kauai has yet to even begin the vaccination of group 1C, which from what I’ve read in the Hawaii COVID vaccination plan comprises around 45% of our state population. Moreover, because the problem lies in supply, it is very difficult to predict when this will be complete, but it’s a certainty that March and April are too optimistic.

    Mr. McGinnis’ logic is sound, but it’s based on assumptions that are wishful thinking and fantasy. As one of the other readers commented, please check back in when the vulnerable have in fact been vaccinated.

  10. Mr. FORD February 23, 2021 9:24 pm Reply

    In a 1960’s properganda British video, it said the corona virus can enter your rectum if you don’t have thick enough pants on.

  11. Archer T February 24, 2021 4:03 pm Reply

    The people of Kauai cannot see the double scam game that Kawakami is playing. Let the businesses close, the real estate tank, the economy fail. He and his wealthy cronies will be able to buy everything up at a bargain basement price, while the working man is homeless and the children go hungry. Why else would he put Kauai through the years of misery ahead? Wake up people.

    1. james February 25, 2021 7:27 am Reply

      Real estate tank? I don’t think you have any idea of how well the real estate market has been doing since March 2020. Do some research before spewing conspiracy theories.

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