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The height of irresponsibility-Coronavirus in Hawaii

By way of introduction we are three weeks to the day from a long planned trip to Kauai. That is my happy place. We’ve traveled there for over 20 years. We were on the fence about traveling as we are both well over 60 with some health problems. But, Kauai had no known coronavirus infections, until this came out today:

The two individuals — an adult male and a female — traveled from the mainland on a direct flight to Maui arriving on March 2 on United Airlines. They stayed at a hotel in Lahaina from March 2 through March 8. Shortly after arrival, case A developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath. On March 4, case A was seen at an urgent care facility and given rapid flu tests that tested negative. And on that same day case B started feeling ill. On March 7, case B was seen at an urgent care facility. On March 8, both flew on Hawaiian Airlines flight 149 to Kauai. From March 9 through the 13th, they stayed on Kauai. On March 9, case A was seen at an urgent care facility and prescribed antibiotics. On March 12, case A was seen at Wilcox Memorial Hospital and at that setting they informed the healthcare professionals they had close contact with an individual that was COVID-19 positive.”

So, these folks knew they were at risk with a known exposure. Flew at least 5 hours exposing those passengers on the United flight. Exposed multiple other people on Maui and never told the health care people they contacted there about their exposure. Then they flew to Kauai exposing those passengers on Hawaiian Air and all the people they contacted at the Marriott and wherever else they went. Finally at the small hospital on Kauai there they fessed up to their exposure and were tested. Kauai is really a small island and I suspect this will result in many cases; I hope I’m wrong. But, we are cancelling our trip. The behavior by this couple borders on criminal and is the antithesis of what people with coronavirus or an exposure to same should do. Shame on them.

Posted by
2995 posts

I think that it is a matter of education. It took me awhile to truly understand the nature of this virus. It wasn’t until I saw a very informative mathematical model that I understood how important social distancing and hand washing were in the scheme of reducing the growth factor over time.

I tend to think that for most people it isn’t that they don’t care about others, they just don’t understand what we are up against. Name calling and shaming rarely bring about changes in behavior. Thoughtful presentation of the facts through various media are more likely to have an impact.

Posted by
569 posts

I truly believe that Trump is a contributing factor to some people not taking coronavirus seriously because Trump himself has not taken coronavirus seriously. From the very beginning he has said CV is just like the common flu, which is not true. He has consistently said CV will die in April when it is warmer. Not true! He said the severity of the virus is a hoax perpetrated by Democrats and the media to bring him down! Just days before the WHO pronounced the coronavirus a pandemic, I heard Trump tell Americans it is ok to go to work when you have mild symptoms of coronavirus because everyone does and they get better. These comments are dangerous and irresponsible. No wonder some Americans behave irresponsibly!

Posted by
411 posts

This is why I canceled my trip. It’s up to me to make sure that I don’t put may family in harms way.

Hawaii has people visiting from all over the world. We’ve been going to Hawaii every year since 1990. When a bug hits the island(s) it travels fast. It was just a matter of time.

Posted by
27 posts

kmkwoo you have my respect in that all posters do. However, when I see the word Trump I read no further. Besides the point. IMHO politics and travel do not mix.

Posted by
506 posts

Not that much different.
This spread around the world, mostly by unknowing travelers.
Well, the world now knows.
Medical establishments (and governments) around the world are asking people to avoid unnecessary travel.
It is a shame that supposedly educated people do not understand the concept of avoiding unnecessary travel.
Just because you are not feeling sick when you step aboard that plane or train doesn’t mean you are not a carrier.

Posted by
2578 posts

"So, these folks knew they were at risk with a known exposure." How do you they knew about the exposure before they began traveling. I have read the news stories and no one has has said that they knew that the person that had close contact with tested positive for COVID 19 when they began traveling. Let's say that I leave today for a trip and on day 10 of my trip, someone I know from home contacts me and tells me that they have tested positive for COVID19 while I was away. I'd, know on the 10th day of my trip that I had contact with a possibly contagious person before I left on the trip but I would not have know it on days 1 through 9 of the trip. I am going to hold off on concluding that "these folks knew they were risk with a known exposure" prior to traveling until I read something that makes it clear that they had that knowledge. After all if they had the knowledge on March 4 and March 7, it would have been in their best interest to tell the doctors then so their treatment could begin.

Posted by
1006 posts

I have a few young relatives who think this is all a hoax, and have no fear of the disease. I get the same that it’s just another “flu” or dying in a car crash argument. I asked one nephew how he would feel if he gave the virus to his mother (she has COPD) and she died. Even after I told him she could die, he still said it was a hoax. Thankfully she is stuck in London and staying with relatives. She won’t be on a plane anytime soon.
I’m waiting for Europe (yes I know the Schengen countries and am using “Europe” as referring to the continent), closes off travel from the US.
I don’t understand.

Posted by
1834 posts

A major problem with the USA is that you don’t have a National Health Service - unlike many other advanced nations.

If you click the following link - you will get the situation regarding Coronavirus - updated daily. Scroll down & click China - where it all started. You will note that the number of cases has dropped dramatically. This is because they had a strict lockdown of the population. South Korea is another country that is winning the battle. To win this battle, it is best if people isolate themselves as much as possible. This is a nasty illness and can be spread unknowingly by people who have it during the few days of incubation.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Posted by
1240 posts

Alan, my concern wouldn't be so much COVID-19 at your destination, in this case Kauai, as much as being sealed in a tube for hours with many other people aboard travelling from who knows where. I think you made the wise decision.

Posted by
2778 posts

I am on vacation and am trying this from Maui where there is a lack of testing available. I return to my place on Oahu Monday and will stay inside for the foreseeable future. I am scheduled to fly to Seattle on May 19th but I will evaluate the situation before I fly there. I have a RS tour scheduled for June 4th (France and Spain) but am not counting on that happening. As a 74 y/o with underlying physical problems I need to be very careful. Fortunately I have no symptoms of anything not normal. This to will pass sooner or later. Keep washing your hands.

Posted by
4342 posts

A Jetblue passenger in the USA intentionally exposed others by flying while sick. Now, he has been banned for life from Jetblue.

Posted by
2063 posts

Hawaii, like most places in the US, is making it nearly impossible to
get tested because they don't have test kits.

South Carolina currently can do 80 tests per day in a state of 5 million people. International travel to Italy/other high-risk area or "half-dead" earns you a coveted test from the test gatekeepers.

Posted by
5623 posts

Good grief.

It is mind-boggling.

Thanks (gulp) for this report, Alan.

Perfectly said, Ufkak (K). I wish we could pin your response to every single thread on this subject.

Posted by
5623 posts

Ufkak, i have not read any posts on this forum from anyone who is sick, or has covid-19 symptoms, who say they are going on a trip.

This misses the point entirely.

One doesn’t have to have symptoms to have already been infected. Apparently healthy people need not to travel as well.

Posted by
5623 posts

IMHO politics and travel do not mix.

And this is absolutely wrong as well. It is why we have public health policy.

Posted by
1847 posts

Liz (and I am typing this knowing the webmaster may weigh in, and I hope he agree with me),

But, while it might be easy to say when you see Trump, you stop reading and assume it is all political. But, please understand Trump IS the President of the United States, a very powerful position that by position alone comes with great credibility and power. Many people adore him and are ready to vote for him again (I will refrain from a political comment on that), but they LISTEN to him and what he says is the absolute truth to those love him.

So, there is absolutely NOTHING political about stating the impact his words have had on this. Many young people do not listen to the news as closely as some of us do, they do not have the time to read the extensive news on the virus and how easily it spreads....so they catch what the leader of our nation says, hear it is nothing to worry about, and that's all they need to hear.

If Rick Steves went on TV saying something and people here posted: Rick said (blah blah blah), what would be the difference? Rick is respected as a reliable leader in the travel industry, and we see how many of us follow many of his recommendations. The position of the President of the United States is viewed as a position of great power and should be one of great credibility of what is said. It is NOT political, it is just FACTUAL.

It is my opinion that the OP posted this thread so illustrate how clueless and irresponsible some people are who continue to travel even after known exposure, and those who respond are trying to figure out WHY they may do that. Until just recently, no worries from the President HAS contributed to SOME not worrying.

Posted by
6247 posts

Dr. Fauci and the CDC have been consistently saying that social distancing is even more important in places that don't have any cases (the lack of testing gives one a false sense of security to begin with because no one knows the true extent of the problem). Also, asymptomatic people can be carriers as well...so the onus is on everyone to act in the interest of the whole community.

Given your health/ risk and age, it still sounds like you were willing to risk it and go anyway (why?)...this couple notwithstanding. The couple simply forced your hand to make a decision you don't like, which, in the end, may have prevented you from getting exposed in Hawaii. It seems like people who really want to travel are sort of in denial here about the risks to themselves and others...you know the story about glass houses. Better use of time to examine our own behavior and motivations than throwing stones. The sad reason we have these incredible stringent lockdown conditions that will devastate the global economy is because we can't trust everyone to cooperate in the collective interest (it's like prisoner's dilemma in game theory).

Posted by
1653 posts

I happen to think that a global pandemic threatening the health and lives of entire nations in fact does require a political component. If you happen to believe that politics and travel don’t mix, take a look at our airports where thousands wait in 6 hour lines without so much as a Kleenex.

Posted by
569 posts

Maggie, Kim, & Denny, thank you for supporting my original post. Everything I said about Trump is true. I heard all those comments myself on tv firsthand. He has the most powerful position in our country; he is supposed to be our leader. Some people believe everything he says. He did not take this virus seriously from the very beginning. A friend of mine who supports Trump told me this is overblown and hysterical and just like the common flu, and it will die in April. I tried to tell her that is not what the infectious disease specialists are saying. It took my friend until a day or two ago to finally believe what I am saying. There are many people who don’t listen to or watch the news so they listen to Trump and see his tweets and believe him because he is, after all, the President of the United States.

Travel and politics do go together as you have said. When our President tells us we can go to work with minor coronavirus symptoms, and we will get better, and the severity of the virus is a hoax, then some people will continue to travel based on what POTUS said. They are looking to him for advice and guidance. And calling the governor of Washington a snake is divisive and doesn’t help this current situation.

Posted by
920 posts

I had neighbors who went to Vegas on a plane yesterday. Said they didn't care since they aren't in the categories that are high risk. However, they could bring it back with them and give it to others..including me as we live in a high-rise. How did people get polio and mumps in the past? By people being carriers with no symptoms passing it onto others. Sadly, our government and president has taken such a "what me worry" attitude that many Americans feel they are safe. We need a prime-time special about viruses and vaccines.

Posted by
956 posts

The incubation period is 5 days, meaning you are contagious with NO symptoms. Traveling will exacerbate the spread of this, full stop.

Dissemination of facts and messaging is political. As Kim said, that is what Health Policy is.

My husband is an ER doc. His colleagues and friends in the ER, ICU, and infectious disease dept. have been talking about this for weeks; getting prepared, talking to national leaders about protocols, communicating with state health department about public policy, etc. Trump's messaging has been irresponsible

Posted by
1847 posts

Agnes...edited to correct spelling of your name...yipes, I have done that twice now.....when will I learn?)(and others reading),
I listen to and read, and most importantly "take to heart" everything Dr. Fauci says....he is sooooo very credible. He shares his knowledge in a very calm, factual way. I wish there were a way we could send a "mandatory listen-message" from him to every single cell phone in the USA. And, each time I hear him speak, I just cannot help but think what a great leader of our nation he would be, but we luckily have him in his current oh-so-important role now. He chooses his words carefully and then communicates clearly and effectively in ways each of us can understand.

In today's local paper, there is a huge article re: the impact of cancellations on the much-needed tax revenue from Nashville tourism and conventions (some cancellations are beginning to happen), but the local CVC is still trying to hold on to as many as possible April on (I do not think we will be out of the woods by then). There is a quote from a young bride who flew in from Philadelphia with her bridal party to celebrate her upcoming wedding, and she basically justified her trip that they will "not be interacting with any young or old people." I am sure she is not factoring in those on the to/fro flights. Crowds on Lower Broadway in Nashville (those who stayed in town regardless of the cancelled SEC Tournament) are crushing in the photos.

It IS going to take each person hunkering down and doing just the essential activities to slow the curve.

EDIT: Each day the numbers are beginning to increase in TN. Some of us have made our # guesses for next week and next month.
We would love to have ya'll come visit Nashville......just wait until a healthier time :)

Posted by
6247 posts

It's Agnes, not Agnus :-)
I really liked Nashville when I visited, I hope to come back. Wish the hotels weren't so incredibly expensive, but I was able to stay in the burbs and still had a great hotel and a very nice time.

Yes, thank goodness that the President puts Dr. Fauci in front to deliver the messages. Credibility, trust, and clear communications are key. Glad that he's going on Fox News, apparently - it's important to reach the hardcore skeptics. There are plenty of people on Wall Street Journal message boards as well who are in deep denial - and these are likely well-educated people.

Posted by
15638 posts

The virus was going to make it to Kauai one way or the other. If not yesterday, then today, or tomorrow. Blaming one thoughtless person for cancelling your vacation plans is just looking for a scapegoat. The governor of Colorado just cancelled my vacation with the stroke of a pen. But I won't hold it against him.

Posted by
2359 posts

Given your health/ risk and age, it still sounds like you were willing to risk it and go anyway (why?)...this couple notwithstanding. The couple simply forced your hand to make a decision you don't like, which, in the end, may have prevented you from getting exposed in Hawaii. It seems like people who really want to travel are sort of in denial here about the risks to themselves and others...you know the story about glass houses. Better use of time to examine our own behavior and motivations than throwing stones.

OK Agnes. Kinda preachy, but you are right. I’m sitting here having canceled two trips to see my grandchildren, now this one to HI, and Italy coming in June. I’m stewing in my juices.

Posted by
6247 posts

I'm sorry, I know it must be a disappointment (I still think you're better off safe in the long run - your health is the most important thing there is). You're definitely not alone. I hope you have a chance to get back to Hawaii when the coast is clear again, whenever that is.

Posted by
5212 posts

Anyone interested in the how and why of vaccine development, the business of it, and why it takes so long, here's a pretty informative podcast from the National Public Radio show, Planet Money vaccines
The gist of it is: it is economically impossible for private industry to have the capacity for quick development and production without government subsidizing the process, including perpetually maintaining an inventory of "government chickens" on contract to have the capacity to produce the gigantic amount of eggs needed. Since the market for a vaccine goes away as rapidly as it appears, there is no financial incentive for private industry to maintain the capacity. Testing and distribution (against a moving target) adds to the time it takes.

Posted by
569 posts

Alan, I understand how you are feeling. I have to cancel our April trip to France to see our grandchildren. We haven’t seen them since October, and I am not sure now when we will see them again.

Posted by
7326 posts

Kim - i was referring to something Ufkak said in his post - which is now gone.
My statement did not miss Ufkak’s point.
Your point has nothing to do with what i was referring to.

Posted by
2123 posts

Backing up to Alan's original start of his thread, I can understand your feelings of frustration about missing your "happy place." We have been traveling to Hawaii for 40 years. Maui has been our home away from home. We were slated to leave in 2 weeks. After looking at the risks we made an informed decision to cancel.

I don't want to sound like a broken record but as a healthcare provider I believe the current scientific information. I receive updates daily from the CDC and the DOH.
This is why we chose not to go:
~ Covid-19 is Pandemic. It's everywhere & spreading. We need aggressive measures as well as access to testing & future care.
~ I will assume we are not immune from this virus.
~ I will continue to practice social distancing (there are no guarantees, but I will do the best I can with the accurate knowledge I have.)

This will not end soon. This will last for months. Stay informed. You are not alone.

I am proud of the U.S. Public Health Service (CDC is a division of it). I believe the CDC has acted responsibly all along with easy to access guidelines and info. online. Our government also has acted appropriately with restrictions at "foreign ports of entry" to try to slow down and minimize this pandemic and made use of quarantine facilities.

The problem now has gone beyond the government quarantine sites into the general population.

I understand anxiety. But, I don't understand hoarding. Hoarding is different than simply being prepared.
The best defense is to follow CDC practical guidelines.
I feel bad for travelers. Can be a dilemma. Some may be trying to get home. Some may not have the funds for an extended stay away from home. Crowding at airports would make me feel uneasy.
Each traveler has to self-evaluate the situation based on risks and costs.

Posted by
7326 posts

“Our government also has acted appropriately”... Many would strongly disagree with you.

Posted by
6115 posts

“Our government also has acted appropriately”... Many would strongly disagree with you.

Actual millions would disagree with this statement. The the border restrictions/travel bans were done too late, the horse was already out of the barn before he shut the door. And the worst part is that those in government knew about this before the general public did and they were just crossing their fingers and hoping we'd be spared, instead of starting the preparations.

Posted by
569 posts

I agree with Nancy. The White House knew about coronavirus in mid-January, and they did nothing about it. Dr. Nancy Messoniers, CDC, has been telling us, since at least the end of January, this is not the same as the common flu; we know nothing about it; it's not going away in April; things will get much worse; and life as we know it will change drastically!

Helen Chu, an infectious disease specialist in the state of Washington, wanted to test people at the end of January, but she was told she couldn't do it by the federal government. She finally performed tests on her own in a private lab at the end of February, discovered someone who tested positive but did not travel to an infected country and did not have contact with any infected person. She was told to stop!

This article is an eye opener. I heard about Helen Chu in early February, but this article goes into a lot of interesting detail.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-showed-america-wasnt-task/608023/

Posted by
745 posts

Maggie - well said. Sadly.

My sister waited until the Governor of Colorado closed the ski areas to cancel her trip which was scheduled to begin this Saturday. She told me her colleagues were making her feel guilty for not canceling well before the Governor's actions..... she works at a medical facility in Illinois.

I think some people heard the President say it was " no big deal" and ran with that since it meant their lives don't have to change.

We canceled our May/June trip to France and Italy a few weeks ago ... just hoping the airlines cancel our flights since who knows wif we will be able to reschedule within their time frame.

Posted by
2487 posts

Living my entire life in a part of the country that does not like the federal government (I will make an exception for Dr. Fauci), its incompetence does not come as any great surprise to me. I'm not always a fan of our governor, but she started shutting things down as soon as 1 case was confirmed last Friday morning.

Posted by
74 posts

While I understand your frustration. Yes people will be stupid, but the message at that time was there is nothing to worry about "it's like the flu". If the tests had been available, with followup procedures they wouldn't have infected others.

To me what really is to blame here is the governmental response and preparation. Not only do I fault the government for delayed measures, but mostly for its lack of preparation. The 2020 national budget allocated 54% of it's discretionary budget to military spending, that is 600 billion dollars. And we couldn't stockpile some masks and ventilators? We weren't on top of the outbreak in China working on treatments, tests and vaccines in January. There wasn't friggin funding for this. Well why the hell not? Sorry but I'm angry...my daughter is a healthcare provider, and still can't get test results back for her patients, nor can she be tested herself.

Gates warned of this in a 2015 Ted talk where he said "The failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola,"..."Next time we might not be so lucky. You can have a virus where people fe el well enough while they’re infectious that they get on a plane or they go to a market... So there are things that would literally make things a thousand times worse." And yet after many warnings the government’s pandemic response team was disbanded. Unbelieveable failure by the richest country for it's people.

Posted by
7326 posts

Exactly right Ricki.

I’m at least grateful to live in a State that has a great Governor (Gavin Newsom) who is smart and a very good leader. He is doing everything he can to protect us. My county + 6 others have been under a Shelter in Place Order since 3/16. The rest of California (California was the 1st State to Shelter in Place) ) was included in the Order on 3/19.

Other States should have done the same thing on or before 3/19.

Posted by
2123 posts

Thank you Ricki & Susan for sharing your thoughts. We too have a progressive Governor in the State of WA. (Inslee). I applaud him & other Governors for early stay at home measures. Our States current proclamation will extend to May 4 (for now). I continue to rely on the CDC, our Department of Health, & Dr. Fauci.

Posted by
1860 posts

Our Governor, Jared Polis, within the last hour held a conference where he announced the latest updates...we are all to wear masks whenever we go out and about our "essential" travels. He is also a progressive leader and virtually shut down our state a good while ago. I appreciate all this effort and while it's difficult and no one "likes" what it is doing to all of us, hopefully we will all do it and ultimately be glad of our compliance. I, too, sadly gave up my planned travels to Greece and the Adriatic countries this Spring but I plan to travel again just as soon as it is ok to do so.

Posted by
2487 posts

Ufkak, my AL friends and I are among the people paying all those taxes to provide that money going to people in AL, some of whom are too irresponsible to provide for themselves because they expect the government to take care of them. Because my income pushed us into a higher tax bracket, the last year I taught high school, 30% of my gross salary went just to federal income taxes.

Posted by
2504 posts

Ufkak, I agree with everything you've said on this post. Thanks. And Kim, as well.

Posted by
7326 posts

Janis, i agree with you... Governor Inslee is also an exceptionally good leader.

Posted by
2123 posts

Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. I would also like to give a shout out to Oregon Governor Brown who has ordered to send Ventilators to NY (the greatest need now). Oregon's curve will peak in a week. What an amazing concept!! Sharing & caring. Kudos to people like her who continue to make a difference in the lives of everyone.

Posted by
5552 posts

CNN update Updated 12:55 p.m. ET, April 4, 2020:
https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-04-04-20/h_1f631979b35b4bcfa05223e75c101e9b

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that New York will receive 1,140
ventilators from China and Oregon.

The Chinese government has facilitated a donation of 1,000 ventilators
that are expected to arrive at JFK Airport today, Cuomo said moments
ago during a press conference.

"This is a big deal and it's going to make a significant difference
for us. Also, the state of Oregon contacted us and is going to send
140 ventilators," Cuomo added. "Which is I can tell you just
astonishing and unexpected. And I want to thank Gov. Brown, I want to
thank all of the people in the state of Oregon for their
thoughtfulness."

Posted by
2359 posts

That’s good news regarding the ventilators from China and Oregon. But this piecemeal approach can only go so far. This is a national problem and should be handled at the national level. There are a defined number of ventilators in the US most of which are sitting idle. The resource should be nationalized. Each hospital should be required to submit a ventilator inventory via a sortable database within 72 hours. Ventilator need at each facility can be determined and ventilators moved to where they are immediately needed. This is something the USPHS with the US Army and FEMA could coordinate if given the authority. Instead we have no such effort and have the likes of Jared Kushner, failed real estate mogul and Peter Navarro, lapsed academic in charge. Pathetic.

Posted by
3361 posts

i hadn’t seen this thread until today, either. Boy, how things have developed in the past 3 weeks. Way more awareness of the seriousness by many, including me! Responsibility regarding travel, not congregating, reducing exposure, and in making sound Leadership Decisions and Remarks are vital, and shameful and potentially devastating if not carried out.