HOOSER: Hoping for a quick return to normalcy

COVID numbers once again are on the decline!

Hopefully, sometime soon, we can return to normalcy, gather again in groups with friends and family, eat out more frequently, and perhaps even testify in person before our government officials.

Of course, now is not the time to rush out and start hugging random people at the airport. No, for many reasons this is probably not a good idea.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. On March 23, Gov. David Ige signed the first stay-at-home order. On Nov. 25, the first coronavirus related fatality on the island of Kaua‘i was reported, and as of Oct. 4, 2021 the death count now stands at 12 — friends, neighbors and family members. Statewide year-to-date there have been 4,382 COVID-related hospitalizations and 811 COVID-related deaths.

The last time a major pandemic swept through the islands was between July 1, 1918 and June 30, 1920. During this two-year period, more than 2,300 people in Hawai‘i died from the H1N1 influenza A virus, commonly referred to as the Spanish flu. According to newspaper reports at the time, many similar strategies such as lock-downs, quarantines and business closures/restrictions were put into place to limit the pandemic’s spread.

It took roughly two years for society to begin its return to normalcy following the initial outbreak of the Spanish flu. That would put us on track for a March 2022 return to normal — a time when football games are played in front of actual spectators, when a baby lu‘au once again marks a child’s first birthday — and, yes, when candidates return to going door-to-door in search of votes.

My plan is to take things one day at a time, watching the daily counts and adjusting behavior accordingly. Maybe I’ll start with reducing my Zoom meetings and actually join associates for coffee and real conversation at some outdoor cafe. Perhaps then I’ll invite a few close friends over to the house and hang outside on the porch for pupu and libation.

My hope is that vaccination rates will continue to climb in our community and our new normal might return much sooner. Personally, I have scheduled my Pfizer booster shot for next week in preparation for a much-delayed visit to the continent. By years-end, I hope to get my second pneumonia jab, AND my final shingles shot. A close friend contracted shingles and said it was bad, bad, bad, and the efficacy rate for the shingles vaccine is 97%.

I totally understand that some in our community are “vaccination hesitant.” I get it also that there is a feeling of distrust of pharmaceutical companies, and I share this distrust. I also don’t really trust banks, insurance companies, oil producers, smartphone manufacturers– and social-media conglomerates. But at the end of the day I do some homework, weigh the pluses and minuses and make my choices.

In the case of my decision on whether to vaccinate for COVID or not, I do the same. Yes, I listen sometimes to Dr. Fauci, the FDA, the WHO, and various other agencies, experts and organizations. While I do not seek out nor watch YouTube videos in search of scientific or medical advice, I do on occasion review studies presented in so-called alternative media.

But at the end of the day my decision is based mostly upon the advice of a handful of physicians here on Kaua‘i who I know and trust, including, of course, my primary-care physician who has looked after me and my family for the past 40 years.


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.

  1. Hoose your daddy October 6, 2021 6:48 am Reply

    You sir are only consistent in being inconsistent. Are you a poet, philosopher, medical professional, comedian, scholar? This “voices” was the lamest pandering to a group I have seen. I will never every vote for you or support your political aspirations. You are a double speaker politician and probably a bit of a narcissist judging by the way you write and perceive things. Good luck.

    1. not today... October 7, 2021 7:56 am Reply

      The assumption in your screed is that human beings are ‘consistent’. Not so, as consistency is not a human trait. Examine for a moment how you or anybody else go through the day with thoughts, feelings, and actions. A paragon of consistency you will not be, especially in your feeling and thought life. Enjoy the variety and have a good laugh at yourself.

  2. RG DeSoto October 6, 2021 3:38 pm Reply

    No one cares what Fauci, FDA or Who has to say about the covid nonsense or their failed tyrannical policies…so why should we give a rip about your healthcare opinions or personal choices? After all, you have no relevant credentials except those of a has-been politician.
    RG DeSoto

    1. RU Petty October 8, 2021 2:45 pm Reply

      No one (named RG DeSoto) cares… TFTFY

      And what, do tell, are your credentials that matter to any of us?

      1. RG DeSoto October 8, 2021 3:39 pm Reply

        Well, UR Petty aren’t you.
        My credentials are of no relevance to the comment I made. Should I have chosen to reveal them, I couldn’t care less whether or not they would matter to you or anyone else. Hooser’s are since he’s the one boring us with his self-adulating rant that implies we should follow his lead…as if he has some importance to our lives.
        In penning a retort you might consider having a relevant point to make.
        RG DeSoto

        1. Well... October 11, 2021 5:43 pm Reply

          Strictly by definition, that was neither penned, nor was is a retort.

  3. KauaiFarmMan October 6, 2021 7:22 pm Reply

    Do you really expect anyone to believe that you haven’t had any friends over for drinks or pupus in nearly 2 years Gary? That’s a downright lie. Classic liberal virtue signaling. This is just another example of Gary’s calculated propaganda.

  4. Kali Yuga October 7, 2021 8:13 am Reply

    > But at the end of the day my decision is based mostly upon the advice of a handful of physicians

    And yet anti-vaxxers get called insane for the same reasonign. The vaccine skeptics that I know similarly base their decisions on medical professionals. That’s the best any of us can do. But only certain medical professionals are considered “approved” or not “canceled” based on their views. Some physicians have never continued their education beyond college. The physicians who are currently skeptical about the novel covid mRNA therapy are skeptical due to their continued education and scientific mindedness. Science is a continually evolving process, one that seeks to keep uncovering what is not true. Science is not static and “scientific consensus” is contradictory.

    1. james October 8, 2021 7:37 am Reply

      Poor argument. It’s essentially the same argument that climate change deniers use. They find one or two unqualified scientists, or in this case “medical professionals (usually a chiropractor that has nor training or experience in infectious diseases) and point to these so-called experts in justifying not getting vaccinated or denying that climate change exists. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, just be honest. Admit it’s because you have no real rational reason, these so-called experts are unqualified shills, and you are just a contrarian and an asshole, and most likely a Republican Trump supporter.

  5. That Lady October 7, 2021 9:05 am Reply

    Nobody wants to return to normal. They enjoy the thrill of being able to focus their free floating and diffuse anxiety on one thing and one thing only: Covid.

    The only thing that will get us out of this now is a war or some other “emergency”. My bet is on a “climate emergency.”

    How else will they employ all the people they hired to deal with Covid? All the contact tracers, petty bureaucrats, paper pushers… how will anyone make money now that so much of our economy runs on “Covid emergency funds”?

    Can we please stop pretending people really want this to end? Because they don’t. Far too many people are having the time of their lives due to Covid. They have power beyond their wildest dreams.

    Anyone on TV who claims they want this to be over is lying.

    And that is the honest truth.

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