COVID-19 in Hawaii

My graduation photo – Go Lancers!!!

Hi all,

I apologize for not posting in a while but the last few weeks have been quite busy for me. As most of you may have guessed, I finally graduated from high school. Yay! It was bittersweet for me as we understandably didn’t have a have a formal in-person graduation nor did we have a senior prom (due to shelter in place). We did have the opportunity to drive through campus to return our iPads, collect senior swag, and wave goodbye to all my teachers, but I really missed the opportunity to say farewell and good luck to a lot of my high school friends as they head off to college or whatever the future may bring.

I have also been getting ready for college by taking college placement exams, watching orientation videos (instead of the traditional on campus PreFrosh Experience), and communicating with some other students and the running coach at Caltech, Coach Raphelson. I will be running for Caltech in the fall (hopefully, if we are allowed to). Here is a link to the press release introducing the incoming women’s cross county/track & field Class of 2024:

https://www.gocaltech.com/sports/xc/2020-21/releases/20200619ksev8m

Now that things are settling down a bit, I wanted to write about a couple of articles1,2 that I read recently about COVID-19 as it pertains to Hawaii (where my mom is from and a place that I visit almost every year to visit my grandparents). I won’t go this year as I am afraid of the possibility of making my grandparents sick. Here is my entry:


Hawaiian Airlines is implementing new sanitation and social distancing measures as the state prepares to lift the mandatory travel quarantine on interisland travelers.
CASEY HARLOW/HPR

Hawaii, a highly popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the world, was definitely a disaster waiting to happen. It seemed obvious that the islands, especially the population-dense areas of O’ahu, would become victims of a huge COVID-19 outbreak. However, Hawaii has actually become one of the major success stories within the United States. The state has the fewest cases per capita amongst all states. In the early stages of the outbreak, Hawaii was proactive, with doctors pushing aggressively for widespread testing and an epidemiologist who tracked all confirmed cases. The fact that Hawaii was also able to enforce a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the islands also helped.

It was fascinating to read about how thoroughly the epidemiologist, Sarah Park, and her team were able to investigate those who fell victim to the coronavirus. It was much easier for them early on when there were only a few cases, although they were clearly able to make a huge impact when confronted with a barrage of cases as well. Other states that had attempted similar investigations tracking COVID-19 patients were unable to keep up as the number of cases increased astronomically, but Park and her team managed to keep track of everyone. Park did get criticized for not testing everyone who had come in contact with an infected patient, but I agree with her methods. Testing is not widely available and should therefore be saved for those who need it most, and those who came in contact were quarantined anyways.

Image credit: Hawai’i Community Foundation

I was also impressed by Dr. Miscovich’s dedication to ensuring that lots of PPE (personal protective equipment) was shipped to the islands early on and for doing his own testing despite the department of health’s lack of urgency. He ensured that testing became more widely available in Hawaii. He and his staff helped test 17,000 people and spread information about COVID-19. This is a lot more than what has been done in other states. And because of Hawaii’s remote location, the early shipments of PPE were of utmost importance.

I’m disappointed in how everyone seems to be handling COVID-19 right now though. Many large gatherings have taken place as many people seem to be returning to their pre-quarantine lifestyles. This has greatly increased the number of cases, and many experts seem to agree that face masks and social distancing are still necessary. The number of new cases per day in Hawaii has increased due to more traveling and human interactions. The article I read emphasized that none of the new cases seemed to stem from protests, which were all fairly small and controlled. Everyone supports people using their voices, but they also want to make sure everyone is staying safe while doing so.


Anyways, that is it for now. I hope you all are healthy and staying safe!!!

This is Katy Chu signing off for now….

E huakaʻi me ka palekana (Hawaiian for “Travel safely on your journey”)

P. S. As I am spending a lot of time at home this summer enjoying my pets, I would like to introduce you to one of my goldfish, Juicy.

My fish named Juicy 🙂

1https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/19/hawaii-covid-success-story-322919?fbclid=IwAR0zHWJJmbuIjUWmOWin9TB6tcrc_hsOBsvFLB512rBbhUY-nXlkakK57HU

2https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/06/whats-behind-the-recent-uptick-of-covid-19-cases-in-hawaii/

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