Why Did Gov. Ige Lock Hawaii Down Till May 31?
by Panos Prevedouros, PhD, Fix Oahu, April 27, 2020
Governor Ige's position on Covid-19 for Hawaii makes little sense and lacks scientific base. Let me show you evidence of this fact first.
Let's compare Hawaii with several European countries. All the countries shown in the table below, except for Spain, had a moderate challenge with the Covid-19 epidemic. Although in Hawaii many more stores and businesses remained open in the last several weeks, and tourism is still occurring at roughly five percent of its usual pace, Hawaii's new cases of Covid-19 are tiny. Also recall that roughly one third of neighboring island new cases were centered at the Maui Memorial Hospital.
When adjusted for population, the four European countries shown in yellow average 27 daily new cases. At the same 7-day interval, Hawaii's case number is 10 and Honolulu's is 6!
Now let's look at the number of deaths due to to Covid-19 per one million population as of today:
Spain (472), Germany (64), Denmark (68), Austria (59), Norway (35), and Hawaii (11)*
These five European countries in The Economist analysis are opening schools and small shops in the second half of April. At the same time, gov. Ige locked Hawaii down till May 31. As a result, Hawaii's already poor public education system will stay shut and deprive Hawaii's children from two months of education. Almost all small businesses are prohibited from opening.
So let's address the main question: The data clearly show that Hawaii's governor has taken caution and conservatism to an unusual level. Is this due to a lack of understanding or politics? It cannot be the former. Hawaii's Covid-19 case numbers are low both in absolute and relative terms; clearly the threat to public health and safety is minimal.
It is becoming increasingly clear that gov. Ige is waiting for other Democrat governors to show him the way, instead of doing what the numbers suggest: Reopen Hawaii (internally.) If he allowed Hawaii to re-open, then he'll run the risk of being accused that he follows the lead of Republican governors. Nationally, Republican governors plan to re-open their state economies or have kept them open, whereas Democrat governors tend to maintain lock downs.
Gov. Ige's 6th Proclamation of April 25, 2020 also included a provision that mayors cannot allow more freedoms unless he OK's them first.
Interestingly, the day before Ige's proclamation, the Wall Street Journal published a remarkable article titled: "The Bearer of Good Coronavirus News -- Stanford scientist John Ioannidis finds himself under attack for questioning the prevailing wisdom about lockdowns." There is increasing evidence that outside regions that must flatten the hospitalization demand curve to a manageable level (i.e., New York City) lock downs are unnecessary and detrimental to the natural process of herd immunity which is the only real weapon against a virus for which there is no vaccine or treatment.
You may like to think that we are all in it together, but politicians are all about partisan politics and control.
(*) All Hawaii Covid-19 data reported in this post were taken from Hawaii Department of Health Covid-19 website and are directly comparable to the data in the The Economist analysis.
Related: How FDA and CDC aided coronavirus meltdown