Our relatively low rate of contagion on Oahu is short-lived. Our next wave will come in the form of our own children returning to Hawaii from college. Even if the kids come from a lower rate COVID state, there’s no more efficient way of getting COVID than getting on a commercial jet. Contact tracing a jet liner and personnel is elusive.
Really, the only solution for Hawaii has not yet been tried. We need to house all individuals from out-of-state in sponsored hotels or living quarters where they are monitored for the 14 required days.
Right now, we rail against tourists, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. We consistently ignore the remainder of travel to Hawaii. On April 21, 2020, 139 visitors arrived in Hawaii, but 222 residents and intended residents also arrived. These individuals are just as likely to bring COVID19 to our isles and even more likely to spread the disease as they mingle and stay with friends and family. Granted, a few may make special arrangements to separate before joining the rest of the Hawaii population, but this is more likely to be the exception.
Our next steps to control coronavirus in Hawaii must be bold and well-communicated. As the spread grows worldwide, we cannot continue to believe that only tourists bring COVID. As unpopular as housing our own separately may be, it is the more humane thing to do for our kupuna and vulnerable population.