HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Boarded up shops. Empty streets. “Takeout Only” signs in the window. Face masks. All sights of what has been called the “new normal.”
Customers flock to Costco and other grocery stores to stock up on food and toilet paper.
Tape on the floor marks the 6-foot distance between you and the next person in stores and banks.
Fabric shops are seeing lines like they’ve never seen before as sewing becomes the new hobby for people looking to make cloth masks.
And with most people staying at home, rush hour seems to be a distant memory of the past.
Everywhere you go, there has been almost no aspect of life untouched by the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Some will argue government leaders aren’t being leaders and are failing to protect residents.
Others take to the Facebook and Instagram comments to accuse the media for causing mass panic. But the reality is, more than 300 people have come down with the virus in Hawaii so far.
And sadly — at least four people have now died.
But what’s concerning to most: Health officials are saying we’re far from being out of the woods.
Based on data and current projections, state Health Director Bruce Anderson said it could be a month before Hawaii hits its peak, and even longer before we’re in the clear.
“If the projections are accurate, we’re looking at several months before we’re going to start seeing that curve begin to drop and where we can start thinking about relaxing some of the mitigation measures that have been imposed,” Anderson said.
Mitigation measures that include the statewide stay-at-home order; the 14-day quarantine period of incoming air passengers; and asking the public to wear cloth face masks while performing essential duties.
To those who argue that the measures are ridiculously blown out of proportion, (yes, there have been some angry viewers who expressed that to us) health officials say 300 cases may not be as many as other states on the mainland, but its about stopping us from getting to that level.
It’s about preventing an influx of cases that would overwhelm our medical system.
“One of the issues associated with flattening the curve is it can be extended a bit when you do that,” Anderson said.
“That’s generally considered worth the price because you’re not having so many people affected with a serious illness that you can’t treat if you extend it a bit,” he added.
Anderson laid it out on a chart at a news conference Friday.
Although most cases in the islands have been mild, officials are still worried about the looming death toll which they say can, and is likely to go up.
For now, residents who are doing their part by staying home and staying six feet away from the nearest person are helping to stop the spread of the disease.
“We’re going to be looking at at least a month until we actually reach our peak, and then we can expect the disease to tail off. It may be considerably longer than that. Time will tell as to how effective our mitigation measures are,” Anderson added.