COVID-19 data analyst projects spike from Halloween could come around Nov. 15

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Experts say coronavirus case averages have been consistent over the past few weeks, but all it takes is one event without masks or social distancing for cases to spike.

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“It’s a disease where every single person matters,” said Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group Chair Dr. Victoria Fan. “Don’t just think, oh, if I go to my grandma’s house to go for a party that it’s not gonna affect anyone. It could affect other people. It just won’t happen immediately.”

Right now, projections are showing cases on a downward trend. However, Fan said it would be easy for projections could go the opposite way if precautions aren’t taken.

“When you look at what happened in July, there was an anticipation of reopening. There was sort of itchiness to kind of have everything go back to normal, and I think led to people kind of letting go of some of the safety precautions that are necessary.”

Dr. Victoria Fan, Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling Work Group Chair

“It was like 20-22 cases per day, July 21. A week later, it was 50 cases a day, and then by July 31 it was at 80 cases a day, and just kept on growing,” said Fan.

She said Nov. 15 is when the state may see a spike from Halloween as well as other factors.

“The anticipation, of course, potentially people getting together for Halloween also, people going back to school, [and] the increase of inbound travelers,” said Fan.

Queen’s Health Systems President and CEO Dr. Jill Hoggard Green recently also presented their data to the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19. She said they are anticipating a “holiday spike” in infections from December to February.

The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 said plans are underway for meetings to prepare for this scenario.

“We’ve asked Dr. Green and her team to gather additional data and provide its predictions and, as importantly, what steps the state must take to prevent the spike.  We all believe the public needs to hear what the situation is likely to be on the ground so that we can all plan accordingly.”

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 chair

Fan said continued safe practices throughout the holiday season will keep the state moving forward with reopening.

“We hope our model is wrong. Hope that, in fact, it will be expected that it’s going to go down. But for that to happen. People need to really, you know, try hard,” said Fan. “This disease is really in our control.”

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