COVID-19 safety measures being stressed with more cases projected


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The specifics on how exactly President Donald Trump caught the virus are still to be learned, but medical experts and lawmakers said there is enough that we know about the virus to help the community prevent being exposed.  

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Actions like wearing a face mask when close to others and avoiding large gatherings are still among the best defenses against the virus. Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green said there is a risk when safety measures are not followed.

“If two people are wearing a mask when they are close to one another, that’s the best treatment,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “In other words, prevention that you could possibly do and that’s the right thing to do.”

Some public schools will welcome students back to campus later this month and trans-Pacific travel will likely increase on Oct. 15. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell shared words of caution to residents about possible super-spreader events.

“I think we’re going to see an increase in cases,” Mayor Caldwell said. “We’re also entering this coming winter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, we could see a surge in cases if we’re not careful.”

Those who are tracking the data agree.

University of Hawaii Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Thomas Lee forecasts the virus in the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. It predicts a rise in cases in the coming weeks.

“We will anticipate businesses reopening, we are going to have more traffic,” Lee said. “More human interaction, but not to the point where we are expecting an exponential increase like we saw in late July early August.”

Mask use may be one of the ways to keep those numbers down.

Weekly data gathered by volunteers from the UH School of Nursing said 83% of Honolulu residents are wearing face coverings. The Big Island follows with 76%, then Maui with 71% and Kauai trails with 62% of its population wearing a mask.

Lee said even if the case number go down, there are also those who are positive and unknowingly expose others. These interactions could lead to clusters like the one now unfolding at the White House.

Lee said, “So you hear ranges, the CDC says it’s up to 10 times, we think it’s a little less than that so we think its at least between three to six, seven times the number of cases that’s circulation, than what’s being reported.”

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