I realize it’s easy for me to say shut down the tourism, the hotels, the bars and restaurants, the gyms and all but very essential businesses.

I don’t own or operate a business. I was laid off at MidWeek but federal and state unemployment compensation more than covers me. I don’t pay rent, don’t have a mortgage, or a child to put through college. I’m financially okay.

Virus control may ruin many people and I do not take that lightly. The prosperity of our whole nation is at stake if Covid-19 persists. That’s why we should have killed it right when it showed up.

Giving in too much to economic concerns at the outset gave sickness and even a death sentence to many of our people. If there’s no quickie vaccine, Covid will go on and on. 20 cases here, 40 cases there. What will next week bring?

We needed to stop it in its tracks!

We’ve done some things we should not have. Failed to do other things. State government and our health people were trying to compromise. The idea was not to stop the virus. Just to make sure we had the hospital facilities to handle the casualties.

We should never have reopened bars. Bars are filled with people who tend to be very irresponsible once they’ve drunk enough. What was the sense –beyond re-starting business flowing — of opening indoor restaurants where the virus can float for at least 20 minutes after its expression in a breath or a cough?

Recent clusters have been associated with social gatherings and gyms, state health officials say.

And allowing in tourists who promised (ha ha) to honor a voluntary quarantine? We should have taken over an airport hotel, then done as Australia has done. Bus each planeload of tourists directly to the hotel. Put a guard on each floor to make sure they stay in their rooms, only ordering out for food. We’d quickly have had no tourists. But we’d also quickly had no infections from them.

We have recently had more than 700 tourists arriving in a single day. Each says “sure, I’ll to quarantine. Where? Oh, with some friends.”

We went soft and then went softer — planning to allow tourists in with a pre-test for Covid. But they could have caught it in the departure airport or on the airplane.

And we know from experience that people we let in earlier were not all following the quarantine rules. Big boo-boo.

At a minimum, we should be requiring and enforcing mask wearing EVERYWHERE in public, not just in buildings. I see clumps of young people on streets enroute to a beach or park gathering, all shouting and laughing, none wearing masks.

Incidentally, that gang of journalists clumped around the KGMB conference room table last Thursday for mayor-candidate interviews –no marks.

The clumps of people — surely not all family members –we’re seeing at our parks and beaches, all unmasked, is another route for infection transfer.

We should be issuing police citations to any person on public property without a mask except when eating or drinking.

We’re either going to kill this thing or it’s going to kill us.

The Ige administration — the governor, the lieutenant governor and the health director — should be held fully accountable for failing the impose enforced quarantine on all arrivals and a mask-wearing requirement for everyone in public.

Their failures have damaged us.



Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Vietnam War, Iraq #1 in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. Married to Denby Fawcett, one daughter. Brett Jones.

6 replies on “Covid: Get Tougher Or Give In?”

  1. Looks like the virus has already mutated, we should expect more infections, and problems with testing, or lack of tests. If we shut down the businesses people will not have funds for medical care, food, funeral expenses. Which I would think lead to food shortages, riots and civil unrest. Defund the police and and you will have looting, does the Governor then declare marital law? Will the banks shut down and move to a cashless currency? Will there be any election? I look forward to the next four months.

  2. Your plan seems very unrealistic and very cruel to the vast majority of the workforce. The unemployment rate is over 20 percent and the $600 extra per unemployment check will expire at the end of the month. The moratorium on evictions will end next month. People are desperate and under incredible stress and anxiety. If the economy does not open soon it will be a human tragedy.

  3. As a retired front line employee who was sick with worry while the industry figured out how to protect me from HIV. As a recently exposed person who fortunately tested negative. I still have confidence that we–the experts, researchers, scientists will figure this out. Hard, but it can be done. Especially if the kids in my neighborhood will wear masks while joyfully tearing around. Maybe public service messages from people with pull: K-pop, Marcus Mariota? Who do they want to be like? Thanks for every work you write!

  4. Beaches in Waimanalo were packed with big gatherings of family and friends today, plenty food to share but few masks to be seen…

  5. Most cases ever today yet mayor holds street fair in Chinatown and one in Waikiki tomorrow. Unreal.

  6. Bob: The scatter-shot approach was caused by the fact that NO ONE knew what this disease was all about. But there were some terrible errors. Such as: Why didn’t ALL of our leaders push hard to have the AIRLINES to work with the state?? And those carriers are still pretending Co-Vid is not that serious. HAWAIIAN now pushing ads for visitors to come back. Will that give us the same results as what’s happening in Florida and California ?? Not one carrier offered any serious help to keep our Hawai’i safe. Not ONE airline warned customers about the 14 days on their websites. And now, AMERICAN, has publicly stated that airplane social distancing will not be used and all seats can be filled. How about that for keeping us safe??! So, here is Simple fact Number 1: We are NOT going back to what tourism, business, education, LIFE was like less than 6 months ago. Like it or not, the ENTIRE world has been changed by this virus. And no amount of ignoring it will change that. 30-thousand/ day airport arrivals are not coming back. We are in a very bad place ! So, what happens next. It is time for everyone, especially all of our “public officials” AND the business world, to re-group and start developing out Post Co-Vid future. The Islands will need to re-invent ourselves. Building more condos and hotels, pushing mainland and foreign tourism will no longer save us. Gov Ige needs to push a major planning initiative with the top minds from all aspects of Hawai’ian life coming together to meet and plan our future. This does NOT mean hiring more consultants. It means a Manhattan Project-style group to get it underway.

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