By: Amoka Mele
The state Health Department reported 622 Coronavirus infections on Friday, a staggering count that is partially blamed on lab reporting delays earlier this week. Democrats would have immediately shut this state down had such a number of new cases occurred during the run-up to the 2020 national elections when a Republicans still occupied the White House and controlled the U.S. Senate. Again, like in early 2020, when the U.S. House was impeaching Donald Trump the first time, now while the House runs its January 6th Commission, Democrats once again being too busy before taking their recess to take up new Eviction Moratorium legislation.
Governor David Ige described the 662 new cases as the highest number seen thus far. Despite the reporting delay, the weekly new case count average is 230 daily – far surpassing the numbers behind which the Democrats shut the state down when Donald Trump was President. Noticeably absent from the public discourse on the surge is Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who often disagreed with Ige’s more cautious policies.
Saying that the pandemic is not over, Governor Ige warned that if the case count can’t be reined in, he might have to reinstate restrictions. Right now, Hawaii hospitals are able to handle the surge but if the surge cannot be stopped, then restrictions will be imposed to slow the spread. Hawaii residents were urged to do everything in their power to slow the spread, including forgoing outings or steering clear of gatherings.
Earlier this week, the Secretary of Defense ordered the 42,000 Department of Defense personnel stationed in Hawaii to resume wearing masks on all federal installations. Previously, vaccinated military personnel were permitted to be unmasked. Because the vaccines remain Emergency Use Authorized, the Defense Department has not mandated that every service member receive the shots.
Coronavirus deaths in the state grew to 537 this week, with 41,925 cases reported since the pandemic began. Current hot spots are Oahu and the Big Island. 25 percent of the 662 cases on Friday were children.
The government reports that the vast majority of confirmed cases are unvaccinated people, however, breakthrough cases amongst vaccinated residents are increasing. New research also finds vaccinated people can carry as much virus as unvaccinated people with the Delta Variant and that this specific variant is as infectious as chickenpox.
60 percent of Hawaii is now fully vaccinated against the virus, while 66.7 percent have had at least one shot. Government officials continue to stress that while a vaccinated person can still contract Coronavirus, they are far less likely to develop severe symptoms and require hospitalization.
Schools resume in Hawaii next week. As yet, there have been no indications that in-person full-time learning will not resume as scheduled. A far cry again from 2020, when state cases were lower than now, but schools and unions would not remotely consider resuming in person learning until November – December after the national election was over.
Where is it was politically convenient to stay closed to hurt the chances of the previous administration, now it is politically convenient to remain open to preserve the polls of the sitting administration. Now, it is financially convenient to remain open to entice continued government investment in this state., otherwise, Democrats at the national level may pass Hawaii by on the next tranche of federal investment funds.