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How close is a lockdown? At least one doctor says it’s time

Doctors are calling for urgent action against the surge in COVID case counts.
Doctors are calling for urgent action against the surge in COVID case counts.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 10:05 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Medical experts say despite major event cancellations and new gathering limits, Hawaii’s COVID crisis is about to get much worse.

Elected officials don’t want to wreck the economy, but there’s growing pressure for drastic measures.

Gov. David Ige does not want to impose another lockdown, but he said this week it may be needed if case counts continue to rsie.

At least one physician believes the time is already here.

“Our backs are well past being against the wall. We are now at the point where there’s only one option, and that option is closing down, plain and simple. And the option will (including) closing our schools down,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich.

Miscovich, a senior advisor to the state’s COVID-19 Task Force, said Hawaii would need to shut down for four weeks to prevent the COVID counts from doubling in the coming weeks. That would include businesses, tourism and schools.

The state Department of Education said 557 staff and students have tested positive in the last week. But the DOE is resisting calls to return to full distance learning.

“The data that we have is telling us there is no spread in our schools,” said interim School Superintendent Keith Hayashi.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi also does not want to go backwards.

“We were not in favor of a lockdown. I don’t believe the governor’s in favor of the lockdown,” he said.

Blangiardi hopes to bring the COVID counts down with more police enforcement on social gatherings, increasing vaccinations, and helping businesses turn away the unvaccinated.

“We are going to implement a vaccine passport for restaurants and bars and gyms, and a whole lot of other places, requiring both patrons and employees,” said Blangiardi.

Government officials are doing everything they can to avoid a lockdown because of its impact on the economy. But Dr. Miscovich argues that a short-term shutdown would have a positive impact in the longer term.

“If we do it now, we can then go back to the United States, go back to the world and say, you know, we took care of it. We took care of our citizens. Now welcome back because Hawaii is a safe place for you to visit.”

Other doctors are pleading with the public to do their part by masking up, avoiding crowds and getting vaccinated.

“We need you to do this for a couple weeks so we can get this curve under control because if we don’t, our health care system will become overwhelmed,” said Dr. Michael Shea, Maui Health’s chief medical director.

“We have opportunities to do something, but I have to say right now that we’re in dire straits,” said University of Hawaii Epidemiologist DeWolfe Miller.

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