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Saturday, October 17, 2020
October 17, 2020 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:54 PM :: 995 Views

COVID Count: 96 new cases out of 3,897 tests

COVID Count: 89 new cases out of 3,654 tests

UHERO: Pandemic upends economic analysis

“A Republic, if you can keep it”

Hawaii's Covid policies, as science, wouldn't pass an ethics review

PBN: … We’re told science alone dictates Hawaii’s policy response to Covid-19. If so, government — including its scientist employees — ought to know that if what they’re doing is science, they’re behaving unethically.

Globally, a vast medical experiment is underway, a hodgepodge of public health interventions imposed without consent, improvised during a live pandemic to see what works. And it wouldn’t pass ethical muster at a single university where actual science is conducted.

At the University of Hawaii, you can’t even implement a survey without it being reviewed as Human Subject Research….

The No. 1 duty of an investigator seeking permission to conduct research on people is, “Describe the potential risks.”

That hasn’t happened. Policymakers barely acknowledge any health risks beyond those posed by Covid-19 itself. Where they’ve acknowledged economic risk, their mitigation has fallen short of making us whole, as anyone still waiting for their unemployment checks, or any business that hasn’t qualified for relief grants, can tell you.

The No. 2 responsibility is to, “Include, when possible, a scientific estimate of [the risks’] frequency, severity, and reversibility. If statistical incidence of complication and the mortality rate of proposed procedures are known, this data should be included.”

That’s strike two, because the health risks of the Covid policies remain undocumented by policymakers, who have yet to say, “We estimate X number of early deaths due to suicide, missed cancer screenings, and untreated physical and mental health conditions, and here’s what we’re doing to mitigate this.” Maybe it would’ve unrealistic to expect this when we were at “two weeks to flatten the curve,” but that was March.

Those two duties are just the prerequisites. The fundamental element of ethical science is consent.

Researchers have to tell the participants everything, upfront, even the risks they think are possible but which can’t define in detail, and obtain their consent — in writing — before the experiment even begins. Not just once, but every step of the way. Participants can withdraw that consent at any time.

In our recent editorial board with Caldwell, when I pressed for the research that justifies the tiered recovery framework that restricts us all from now until at least mid-January, he accused me of living in some “beautiful world” where all of this could be known. He, in contrast, posited himself as living in the real world where decisions must be made, authority imposed, to save lives….

There are countless doctoral students who could argue that they could save more lives, faster, in the real world, if we threw away all the safeguards that limit human experimentation. Imagine the conversation:

“I think I can avert 10,000 cancer deaths with the use of this chemical, but some people will die during my research. Can I proceed?”

“How many might die?”

“I don’t know and there’s no time to guess. People are dying of this cancer right now.”

“Are you going to get permission from the human subjects?”

“This research is too important for permission and there’s no time for it anyway. Unless you want to wait around while even more people die.”

“How are you finding your human subjects?”

“Anyone I can get my hands on.“

“Very well, carry on.”…

read … Hawaii's Covid policies, as science, wouldn't pass an ethics review

1,100 Arrival tests—Only One Positive

KITV: … There were so many people entering the state for the first day of the pre-travel testing program, Governor David Ige made the call to allow travelers in without quarantine even if their negative COVID-19 test came from a non-approved provider. The change came when the arrival lines at the airports were packed.

KITV4 heard from officials from all counties and a big factor that contributed to the problem was multiple flights coming in at the same time, creating a back log of people waiting in line to be verified. Tim Sakahara, Department of Transportation spokesperson tells me lines at airports are running smoother today but he says the state is working to help improve the process. To help prevent long wait times, Sakahara says the state is working with airlines on scheduling.

"It is air transportation and sometimes you may have a situation where one flight arrives early and another flight arrives late, there can be some overlap. There could be a longer line," Sakahara said.

Hawaii Island is the only county that requires a second test upon arrival, that added up to four hours of wait time for some passengers at Kona International Airport.

"If you want the view point of the passengers, I think a mess would be kind words. It's true," Harry Kim, Hawaii County mayor, said. "The facility they waited on was not air conditioned so you can imagine how uncomfortable that was."

Mayor Kim acknowledged the problem and said he's working to improve the registration process and adding more lines to help arriving travelers. The mayor reported more than 1,100 people arrived on the Big Island on Thursday and only one post-arrival test came back positive….

(Imagine how many lives would be saved if we had tested 1,100 in nursing homes.)

read … 0.1% Positive rate

Life Care Center’s coronavirus case count rises to 53

PBN: … The Life Care Center first reported a coronavirus cluster in its facility toward the end of September. Since then, 53 residents have tested positive and four have died as of Oct. 16.

Of those 53 residents, 45 remain active cases with one resident receiving proactive treatment at Hilo Medical Center. According to Life Care, two residents have been discharged.

The facility says it has been testing residents and staff twice a week to better track how fast the virus is spreading.

Sixteen Life Care associates tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began. Nine associates remain in isolation while seven have fully recovered.

For more details, visit their website….

Meanwhile: Sailors Immediately Transported off Ship After Testing Positive

read … Life Care Center’s coronavirus case count rises to 53

Kim: “It was a real mess” 

SA: … Kim said the post-arrival antigen test, which is paid for by the county, identified only one arriving passenger as having COVID-19. Luckily, he said, that passenger wasn’t part of the group that was allowed to leave the airport after 8 p.m. to make more room for officials to process more incoming flights.

“There’s no doubt yesterday was a very bad experience,” Kim said….

read … Kim: “it was a real mess” 

Day Two of trans-Pacific travel at Kona airport

HTH: … By most accounts, the first day did not go as planned, with people waiting as long as 4.5 hours to be tested and receive results.

Two travelers from California had not received their test results when they landed in Kona on Thursday. They were told to quarantine until they received their results, which they did later in the evening. Even though they had negative results, they could not navigate the system and were told to return to the airport on Friday.

“There just wasn’t enough staff. Who is in control of this? Whoever it is, they didn’t think this through,” said the visitor, who did not want to be identified as she waited for someone to help her. “The experience was very harrowing.”

Airport and Hawaii County staff made adjustments Friday, and the process was somewhat streamlined.

All travelers need to create an account with the state’s Safe Travels program before arriving. Once all of their information is entered into the system, passengers receive a QR (quick response) code.

After deplaning, travelers went through thermal temperature screening monitored by the National Guard. Then, passengers proceeded to the Safe Travel checkpoint where their QR code is checked.

For interisland flights, passengers were separated. Trans-Pacific arrivals sent for a rapid test while those traveling within the state were ordered to quarantine, per Mayor Harry Kim’s most recent rules.

A line of passengers snaked through the new Transportation Security Administration area Friday afternoon. There, each person’s information was manually recorded and a rapid test administered at one of four stations. Passengers were sent to a “holding pen” until results were available….

KITV: After a rough start on Thursday, October 15th Miscovich says on Friday that passengers waited an hour tops for results.

KHON: “If you flew in at the hours when the flights were staggered it went very efficiently,” Lt. Gov. Green added.

read … Testing system smoother on second day of trans-Pacific travel at Kona airport

Ige: Hawaii Needs 500K Tests/Month

KHON: …The governor added that he plans on working with the airlines to space out flight arrival times.

“The schedules bring all of the trans-Pacific flights in all at virtually the same time, and that does create delays in the airport,” Gov. Ige said.

When asked if there is a plan in place if the islands were to see a surge in cases, Gov. Ige said that he believes the state is more prepared than ever before to handle more cases.

“We are providing respite to different facilities on a regular basis. I think that allows us to feel confident that we can deal with an even larger surge than we saw in August and September,” the governor said, referring to the increased number of health professionals on the island.

The next step to rebuilding the economy is dramatically increasing testing capabilities, according to the governor. However, the problem is that the demand for tests worldwide still outweighs the supply.

“To be able to do a half a million tests a month that would really allow us to test virtually anybody we would want to on a regular basis,” Gov. Ige said about his goals for the state when it comes to testing.

He said that he is also planning on bringing back Japanese visitors by the end of this year.

KHON: Hawaii Tourism Authority reports 3,100 were visitors.

KITV: Talks are underway to expand tourism from Japan as visitors return to Hawai'i

read … Hawaii Needs 500K Tests/Month

Kauai Mayor: We Need More Testing Providers

KHON: … Mayor Kawakami says that he wants to see the state increase the number of testing partners to provide residents with more options.

“If we really want to spur innovation, and drive the cost of these tests down, and also increase the quality, they should allow more people to compete,” said the mayor.

Maui announced that it will be moving forward with the pre-travel testing program for trans-Pacific and inter-island travelers starting Thursday, Oct. 15….

KHON: Free post-arrival testing center for Kaua‘i residents returning from out-of-state travel launches on Monday, Oct. 19.

SA: Kauai confirms coronavirus case related to inter-island travel; second infection probable

read … Where can residents get tested to avoid inter-island travel quarantine?

Mayor Victorino announces travel exemption for same day or overnight medical purposes

KITV: … Governor Ige is allowing Maui county residents a quarantine exemption for medical appointments.

If you are making a same day or overnight trip to another island for medical purposes, you would not have to follow the pre-travel testing program to avoid a 14-day quarantine.

However you do need the proper paperwork.

"The travelers do not need to apply for a quarantine exemption but must present their flight itinerary and doctor's letter with date of appointment to screeners on arrival. If the medical traveler needs a travel companion, this person must be specifically in the doctor's letter, this exemption does not apply to any non-medical related purposes," Managing Director of Maui County Sandy Baz said….

read … Mayor Victorino announces travel exemption for same day or overnight medical purposes

New plan to allow Hawaii County travelers to skip quarantine won’t require a pre-test

KHON: … Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said that he is currently drafting a plan to allow inter-island travelers to skip quarantine, but the program would work much differently than the other counties.

Unlike the pre-travel testing program, a pre-test at least 72 hours before traveling to the Big Island isn’t required.

“All travelers coming to Hawaii Island will be quarantined for 14 days, as it is now except for exemptions. The difference is that we will make a change that to get out of quarantine, it will be on your choice.” --HARRY KIM

He said that people will have to take a PCR test. They will be temporarily allowed out of quarantine to get tested at a site of their choice. Once tested, visitors must return to quarantine until the county receives their results.

“As soon as we can confirm that you’re cleared, you’re off quarantine. So, it’s very probable that the most you’ll stay in quarantine is just one night,” said Mayor Kim….

HTH: Kim makes interisland pitch: Travelers exempt from quarantine after post-arrival negative test

read … New plan to allow Hawaii County travelers to skip quarantine won’t require a pre-test

Here’s the arrivals breakdown for the launch day of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program

HNN: … The Hawaii Tourism Authority reports that 3,189 passengers who arrived in Hawaii on Thursday said they were here for “pleasure or vacation.”

Another 74 were in the islands to get married or enjoy a honeymoon.

And about 500 people marked “other” or “other business” when asked for the reason for their visit.

Meanwhile, about 1,600 people said they were in Hawaii to visit friends or relatives.

Nearly 1,300 passengers said they were returning residents and 400 said they were intended residents or members of the military of federal government.

Oahu saw the biggest number of arriving passengers, with nearly 5,000. Maui came in at no. 2 ― with 1,675 arrivals. There were 944 passengers arriving at Kona and 697 flew into Lihue.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said the total number of passengers traveling Thursday was 10,120 ― a figure that also included inter-island arrivals.

Of that total, about 1,400 passengers had to go into quarantine because they didn’t submit a negative COVID-19 test or were awaiting the results of a test.

“I think 300 or 400 people are still waiting pending results,” said Green. “A few people just saw a very cheap ticket and jumped on it and didn’t take the time to go to the website and see that we do have a pre-test program. I do feel badly for them but that’s a very small percentage.”…

TGI: Lihue 1,297 passengers

read … Here’s the arrivals breakdown for the launch day of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program

Hawaiian Air Burning $3M/day

TGI: … Hawaiian Airlines’ spokesman Alex Da Silva has estimated the company has suffered a $3 million-per-day cash burn…

The company was forced to reduce the size of its airline to 2,501 employees, which is about one-third of their pre-pandemic size of 7,447 employees….

Next month, the trans-Pacific flights will increase to 67% of the 2019 levels, while the neighbor islands flying will be 55% lower than a year ago, so the airlines are still anticipating a slow start…

.Following safety protocols, the capacity of the airline cabin will only be at 70% through December because of onboard distancing….

read … Hawaiian Air hopes to bounce back

Hawaii’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Is Ready But The State Is Keeping It Under Wraps

CB: … Hawaii officials said Friday they’ve drafted a plan to deal with the enormous logistical hurdles of distributing a coronavirus vaccine when one is finally approved.

They submitted Hawaii’s COVID-19 vaccination plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by a federal deadline Friday, but refused to publicly share the document.

There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But with the expectation that a vaccine will gain emergency approval within the next couple of months, the CDC is asking state health authorities to begin making plans now….

read … Hawaii’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Is Ready But The State Is Keeping It Under Wraps

Contact tracers encounter wrong, disconnected phone numbers or no numbers at all

HNN: … Nearly 1 in 5 coronavirus cases in Hawaii are sent to contact tracers without any contact information or with incorrect or disconnected numbers, state figures show.

Emily Roberson, who oversees contact tracing efforts at the Health Department, said missing information can be a struggle to track down. Contact tracers try to go back to the healthcare provider to secure a number, and that can lead to long delays in reaching people.

Wrong or disconnected numbers are also a headache.

Roberson said that of about 1,600 coronavirus cases in the islands over a two-week period in September, just over 40% couldn’t be reached. In addition to no numbers or disconnected or wrong ones, contact tracers also encounter a large chunk of people who don’t return their calls.

Just a handful, meanwhile, outright refuse to help….

Roughly 32 National Guard members have also been trained to serve as contact tracers, but their work is only funded through December….

As of this week, the state had 328 active contact tracers ― 260 of whom are on Oahu….

read … Contact tracers encounter wrong, disconnected phone numbers or no numbers at all

Despite huge need, state has only distributed 2% of $100M set aside for housing help

HNN: … The state set aside $100 million in federal CARES Act funds to help struggling families with rent or mortgage payments. And so far, just 2% has been distributed.

That’s even though tens of thousands of Hawaii residents are in desperate need of help.

Over the past month, more than 20,000 people have applied for the state’s Rent Relief and Housing Assistance Program. The vast majority haven’t gotten a dime.

The program was launched by the Ige administration a month ago and eligible applicants could get up to $2,000 a month through the end of the year ― paid directly to their landlord.

“So far I’ve heard nothing back,” said Moskowitz. “My friends (who applied for the program) have heard nothing back either.”

The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation confirms that of the $100 million set aside to help people with housing payments just 2% of that money has actually gone out.

The agency repeatedly declined HNN’s requests for an interview.

In an email, a spokesperson blamed the delays on the applicants ― claiming more than half of the 20,000 applications were “incomplete” or had “inaccurate contact information.”…

HTH: Rental assistance program temporarily halts applications

read … Despite huge need, state has only distributed 2% of $100M set aside for housing help

Police officer disclosure

SA Editorial: …Two Hawaii cases in the news this week involving fired police officers underscored the public-safety aspect of a new law change: to publicly identify police officers who have been suspended, not just fired, for misconduct.

Act 47 was signed into law on Sept. 15, requiring the disclosure of police officers’ suspension information — the same as for all other government employees. In 1995, under police-union lobbying, a legal exemption for police was carved out; since then, good-government groups had pressed to revoke the disclosure shield, rightly saying that more transparency serves the public interest against misconduct and corruption….

>> On Tuesday, former Honolulu officer Kramer Aoki was sentenced to 14 days in jail for fondling a teenage girl he had stopped for speeding in 2014. In the fourth-degree sexual assault case, Aoki was granted a deferral of a no-contest plea. If Aoki complies with the deferral terms, the lenient sentence allows him to wipe his conviction from the record and to stay off the sex offender registry.

>> Brandon Saffeels, fired from the Maui Police Department in November, was charged earlier this year with Honest Services Wire Fraud, a federal crime that carries up to 20 years in prison. The charge stemmed from allegations of inappropriate behavior lodged against Saffeels by four women, separately, for inappropriate texts and solicitation….

read … Police officer disclosure

Bank records of anti-Amemiya Super-PAC subpoenaed in campaign spending probe

ILind: … A hint of what the commission may be investigating appears in a September 16, 2020, letter from commission General Counsel Gary Kam to Garrick Lau and James Auld of Jimmy Up Home Improvement LLC in Aiea. The letter asks for further details of a July 14 contribution of $4,000 from the company to Aloha Aina Oiaio, and a cash deposit of $4,000 on the same day to the Jimmy Up bank account, which was disclosed in the company’s records provided by Central Pacific Bank in response to an earlier subpoena.

“The Commission requests that you identify the source(s) of the $4,000 cash deposit and provide the Commission with documents that verify that the cash came from the source(s) identified by you,” Kam wrote. The contribution to the PAC was by check signed by Auld, according to Kam’s letter.

State election law prohibits so-called “false name contributions.” …

The next commission meeting where this matter could be discussed is scheduled for November 18, 2020….

read … Bank records of anti-Amemiya Super-PAC subpoenaed in campaign spending probe

Hysteria: 30 Feet of Sea level Rise Coming, LOL!

MN: …Fletcher says levels are expected to rise 3 to 8 inches by 2030. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 10 percent chance of 6 feet of rise by 2100. The UH professor says, on the current trajectory, Earth will see 22 feet of rise by 2200 and 30 feet by 2300….

(OK Cancel the rail project and give refunds to all the Kakaako Condo buyers.)

read … Rising seas impacting shores – and it will only get worse

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