Epidemic tracker: 1 in 50 Oahu residents may have COVID-19

Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 11:23 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It has been 13 consecutive days of triple digit coronavirus cases in Hawaii.

New data shows every infected person in the state is now spreading the virus to 1.6 people. It is the highest rate of contagion in the country.

Medical experts are worried and say residents need to start getting serious.

“I do think people do not understand the severity of what we’re dealing with right now. We are dealing with rapid spread of COVID,” said Dr. Tim Brown, an epidemic tracking expert at the East-West Center.

Hawaii currently has more than 2,000 active cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that is only about 10% of actual cases because not everyone is getting tested and several infected people show no symptoms.

Dr. Brown warns the virus may be more widespread than previously thought.

"It means that if we see 2,000 cases, there are probably 10 times that, which is to say 20,000 out there," Dr. Brown said.

He estimates about one in 50 Oahu residents may be infected.

"The reality right now is that COVID is out there and if that 10-to-one estimate holds, then one person in 50 on Oahu right now has an active COVID infection. That means if you go into a grocery store and there are 50 people in that grocery store, one of those people almost certainly has COVID," he said.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, who is leading the state’s mass COVID-19 testing efforts, says education needs to be directed more toward specific age groups.

“We need to do a better job of really speaking to the people, a better job of speaking to the millennials and the Gen Xers and speaking to the people who have the highest surges,” said Dr. Miscovich.

Dr. Brown suggests sticking to your household members rather than groups of 10. He is also encouraging Oahu residents to rethink going to the gym and eating indoors.

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