When the COVID-19 coronavirus first took hold in the United States, Hawaii stood as a beaming example of what to do to contain the virus. Statistics were low with very few cases and deaths. One of the two lowest in the country as a matter of fact.
But once the government of Hawaii decided to start reopening parks and establishments, the numbers began to rise. Perhaps people mistook this attempt to restart the local economy as a signal that the rules for containing the virus as best we could no longer applied.
All one had to do to see evidence of this was to take a drive along Ala Moana Beach Park. What was once fairly desolate except for the few who traversed through the park for their daily exercise, was once again back to “local style” picnics with tents, food, and groups of more than 10 gathering, and doing so without masks or social distancing.
Today, although the numbers are hopefully beginning to come back down, they are still in the triple-digit range of new cases per day. Because of this poor performance, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have decided to put Hawaii on its list of travelers that will need to be quarantined for 14 days if coming to visit.
Ironically, the trends have flipped, and where cases and deaths were out of control in the tri-state area, especially New York, the statistics on COVID-19 have greatly improved while Hawaii’s numbers are running in the opposite direction.
In addition to New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands have put Hawaii on its travel advisory list. Like Hawaii, there are 29 other states where coronavirus cases are surging upward.
Honolulu Mayor Caldwell said the state could become like New York. “We the people of this beautiful but fragile island need to come together. We need to save us, each of us, our loved ones, and yes, also to save our economy. It’s about life and death now, and a healthy economy is depending on a healthy population,” he said.