Civil Discourse

I believe it is important to maintain civil discourse on all kinds of issues, even super charged ones like public policy on the novel coronavirus. In response to my recent article informing readers about the Great Barrington Declaration, I received the whole range of comments, from "Thank you" to "How dare you!" And that is OK.


The comments sent to me were respectful, and several included additional information intended to educate me. To everyone who took time to share their thoughts, whether to support or challenge the premise of the article, thank you. I hope you received my responses as they were intended, in furtherance of the discussion. We gain a better understanding every time we keep our minds open to alternative viewpoints.


Most people can agree to abide by the basic health principals of social distancing, mask wearing when in close proximity to others, and lots of hand washing. We may not get 100 percent compliance, but has that ever happened? There is growing evidence that people wearing masks may get less sick as the viral load taken into their body is reduced. Reframing the importance of wearing a mask to "Do it for yourself" would promote mask usage far more effectively than shaming and police enforcement.


The Department of Health is now publishing on Thursdays a weekly report of Covid-19 Clusters to illustrate trends throughout the state. It highlights recent incidents in which the virus occurred at one time, in the same geographic location, or among people with the same or similar shared exposures. This report and related data and visualizations, updated daily at noon, are available at https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019.


Another useful source for local Covid-19 information is https://hawaiicovid19.com. Here you will find a links to the Data Dashboard, Living and Working Safely information, Health Information, Safe Travels program, and city, state and federal resources.


If you are curious about the Honolulu Reopening Strategy and details of the Mayor's four tiers of restrictions, go to https://www.oneoahu.org. For example, the public gyms and team sports will remain closed and prohibited until Tier 4, Green, which requires an average new case count less than 20 and test positivity rate less than 1 percent. We are presently in Tier 2, Orange, which generally limits groups to five or less people. There is a minimum period of four weeks to move forward, or two weeks to move backwards. Based on recent trends, we may remain in Tier 2 for a while.


On November 10th, the data dashboard indicated 77 Covid-19 patients in the hospital, 16 in intensive care, and one on a ventilator. The highest numbers in Hawaii were 291, 64, and 48, respectively, during the August and September spike.


Let's stay healthy, get outdoors and exercise if we can, keep our social distance, wear masks and continue to wash our hands. Please support our local businesses, and continue to be kind and supportive of each other. And remember, it is OK to disagree and still be agreeable.


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