HONOLULU (KHON2) — The United States reached a grim milestone Monday, surpassing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.
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Hawaii continues to have the lowest death rate in the nation with 431 people lost to the virus. One of them was 43-year-old Maui Kahalepuna. His family is still recovering from his sudden passing, and his brother Paliku hopes that what they’ve experienced can be a lesson for others.
“Maui got it, and within a month he was gone,” Paliku said. “That was surreal, I guess you could say. And sometimes we still have those moments where we still think about him. Like I said I hope nobody has to go through this and to realize how serious this can be.”
Paliku understands the need for people to gather together, and that’s why he can’t wait to get a vaccine.
“I’ll be there,” he laughed. “It’ll be like Black Friday I’ll be the first one in line.”
Until immunity is reached, he wants people to understand the consequences gatherings can have.
“That’s just how we are as Polynesians,” he shared. “We want to get together and want to hang out. You know we love that social interaction, but I don’t know how we can relay that to anybody just by words.”
For now, the Kahalepuna family has been meeting and grieving together virtually. Paliku says Maui has taught them how important family is.
“Maui made that happen for us to realize that family, that’s the most important thing at the end of the day is your family and those closest to you.”