“In Hong Kong, they aren’t taking any chances. We know how lucky we have it. Unlike the entire developed world, our cinemas are open, our restaurants are open, our bars are open and we want to keep it that way.”
Laurel Chor, Freelance photojournalist
Hong Kong is a small place, a city of 7.5 million people, and has their own borders that they control. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Hong Kong has suffered only 1,055 cases of COVID19 and four deaths. New York City, slightly more than 8 million people, has 23,000 deaths and counting. Why did America and Europe fail?
Hong Kong’s tourist arrivals averaged 100,000 per day prior to the pandemic and dropped to a daily average around 3,000. Hawai’i averaged around 30,000 arrivals per day prior to the pandemic and arrivals continue to increase in the Aloha state.
Relative to Hong Kong’s larger population, Hawai’i with about 1.4 million people would have close to 100 deaths if we were as populous. Again, Hong Kong had four deaths and they are open for business. Why are they winning while we are locked down in fear?
Kevin Dayton, writing in StarAd, believes Hawaii’s “extraordinary success” curbing the spread of COVID-19 leaves Gov. David Ige with a dilemma unlike any in the nation. When FrankenIGE eventually reopens our door to restart of the state’s tourism industry, how many new infections will hit our local population?
Wrote to Kevin today: Maybe that’s a false dichotomy, I asked. As a public heath professional, I’ve been critical of U.S. and Hawai’i response since outbreak. Hong Kong suffered ONLY four deaths. Why is our infection and death rate so high?
Chad Blair questions the leadership of Governor FrankenIGE. He asks if David Ige is a governor who cannot govern. Ige’s poor leadership led to over 65,000 residents calling for his impeachment during the disastrous TMT controversy. Protesting Native Hawaiians lost trust in him. Supporters of the world-class scientific observatory felt he failed to uphold the law. Chad summarizes Ige’s failures:
Indecisive. Poor communicator. Looks weak.
Sends contradictory messages. Not perceived as being in charge. Defers too much to others.
Avoids conflict. Lacks the skill set to govern. Rolling disaster.
Governor FrankenIGE and Lt. Gov Josh Green recently proposed a plan to require arriving passengers to produce a negative COVID-19 infection test at least 72 hours prior to travel. In my humble professional opinion, this is DEAD WRONG.
First, all tests are Point-in-Time assessments. An individual might test negative on Monday, be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 on Tuesday, fly to Hawai’i on Wednesday and have ZERO symptoms upon arrival. The individual might be fully infectious on Thursday. ABC news documented such a person produces a false-negative four days prior to visible symptoms.
Second, FrankenIGE mandates arriving passengers self-quarantine for 14 days. If this worked, why not keep banks open without guards and mandate people not to steal? Who comes to Hawai’i to isolate in a lonely hotel room for two weeks? Nobody with the “skill set to govern” would propose such a “rolling disaster.”
FrankenIGE puts PROFITS over safety of PEOPLE. Hong Kong certainly doesn’t follow such a lamebrain policy. Hawai’i U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard called for the resignation of public health officials months ago.
I began urging local officials to #MaskUp the population in early March. Authorities laughed and scolded me. On March 19th, published my warning and copied Lt. Gov Dr. Green, as well as other state legislators such as Rep. Amy Perruso.
Green didn’t respond and Rep. Perruso considered me a cute distraction — eventually unfriending me from her social media broadcast. Hawaii’s Department of Education chided me when I pleaded with them to #MaskUp as their staff distributed food to desperate families. We don’t know how many were infected or later died due to their ignorance.
CNN notes “big brands” are now jumping on the face mask bandwagon. Disney sells cloth face masks featuring Anna and Elsa, Woody and Buzz Lightyear and Baby Yoda, among others. Sports leagues like the NBA and NFL are selling licensed face masks with team logos. In two months, we went to NoMasks to millions of masks. How is possible the CDC and others were so wrong?
Online marketplace Etsy has sold 12 million, or $133 million worth, of fabric face masks from 60,000 sellers since the beginning of April. Gap and other retailers as well as celebrities like Kim Kardashian have jumped on the face mask bandwagon, offering their own version of the wardrobe staple.
In March, I was Hawaii’s pariah. How many lives would have been spared had U.S. and Hawai’i authorities not been so arrogant? How much money did we waste?
Hong Kong Has a Plan
Freelance photojournalist Laurel Chor has traveled to 11 countries since January. She’s no stranger to long airport security checkpoints and even longer flights — but returning home to Hong Kong last week during the pandemic was anything but routine.
Hong Kong officials notify passengers ahead of flights they will be tested for coronavirus once they land and warn the wait in the airport could take around eight hours to complete COVID-19 test results. Residents returning are required to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they test negative, to prevent the spread of the disease.
Different from Gov. FrankenIGE, isolation isn’t a paper tiger policy. Hong Kong issues all arrivals a mobile phone app, thermometer and fashionable bracelet — similar to an ankle bracelet used in criminal cases.
Arrivals are expected to wear the bracelet around the clock — even in the shower. Not only does the bracelet track movement of residents and confirm they stay home, but the large size and visibility also served as a deterrent.
“It’s the law now, you can’t break quarantine. The punishment is prison. If someone saw me on the street with this bracelet they would probably report me.”
Arrivals use the provided thermometer to document their temperature twice a day. They complete paperwork, as arrivals must do now when coming to Hawai’i, and include their phone number. Government will call to confirm passengers are respecting the post-travel quarantine.
Passengers then retrieve their luggage, clear customs, and are shuttled by bus to a nearby convention center, transformed into the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at the AsiaWorld-Expo.
“I was expecting the nose swab,” she said, but was relieved to find that instead the test involved saliva.
In the testing center, passenger bags are organized and they receive luggage tags. Local officials do not administer the COVID test to prevent cross-contamination. Arriving passengers instead receive a self-testing kit along with detailed instructions. They are guided to semi-private booths to take a saliva test.
“It was simple enough, in retrospect,” Chor said, commenting that the numerous steps made the process nerve-racking in the moment. “The Hong Kong government is so meticulous.” Here in Hawai’i, government is sloppy and incompetent.
Lauren said she felt cared for, that staff were nice and patient, and really did seem to think of everything. When they gave her a sandwich, she saved half, believing it might be her only meal for the day. Said she was surprised when staff returned later with snacks, water and gave her an extra bag of cookies.
Welcome to Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million, who are full of aloha for residents and arriving visitors. Small sacrifice to secure the city for residents and visitors.
“In Hong Kong, they aren’t taking any chances,” Lauren reported. “We know how lucky we have it. Unlike the entire developed world, our cinemas are open, our restaurants are open, our bars are open and we want to keep it that way.” [source]
Not as fortunate in Hawai’i. Gov. FrankenIGE allows hundreds of potential invisible threats — COVID-19 terrorists, rapists and serial killers into our ‘Ohana each day. They’re in a big rush to make money. They do not care about us.
Remember you heard it here first. Please leave your comments below and be sure to FOLLOW ClearHeath Life Strategies. We provide News of the News You Wish You Knew.
Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”