‘Listen to science, not social media’: Unvaccinated at high risk for catching delta coronavirus variant

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital jumped to over 200 on Saturday, Aug. 7.

Officials said they are dealing with a surge in cases in west Oahu.

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More breakthrough cases are being reported as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the state.

The Department of Health (DOH) said there have been 539 breakthrough cases out of the 826,289 fully vaccinated Hawaii residents as of July 22, for an infection rate of 0.065%. Two vaccinated residents have died due to or with COVID-19.

“Almost all of our hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, almost all of them, and the ones that are in the hospital that were vaccinated, maybe had one shot or are not that sick,” explained Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

“Usually there’s a reason [a vaccinated person is in the hospital], they’re very old and frail or their immune-compromised in some way,” explained internal medicine Dr. Toni Brayer. “But the hospitals are filled with unvaccinated people that have contracted COVID.”

The public has been told from the beginning vaccines are not 100 percent effective in protecting from catching the virus.

“You might get a little flu-like illness, and you might feel sick, or maybe you don’t feel sick, but the good news is, you’re not going to be in the hospital, and you’re not going to die,” Dr. Brayer added.

Younger patients are being hospitalized nationwide and misinformation continues to spread.

“People who are in the 30 to 55 age range are becoming very ill and having to be hospitalized and dying at a time where they shouldn’t be dying in their life,” Dr. Brayer continued.

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“I’ve had family that died from COVID and friends that are scarred and sick forever,” explained waterman and Makaha community leader Brian Keaulana.

“I’ve known the healthiest people that went down, you know, pretty hard, they didn’t die or anything, but they got really, really sick, but on the other hand, they’ve infected other people, you know, so it’s not just yourself, right?” he added.

Keaulana said he decided to get the vaccine for his ohana.

“For me, it was a no-brainer, it’s not really to protect me but to protect those people around me and those that I love,” he added.

“I don’t want to push it, I just want all my friends and family to educate themselves on what’s the right information,” Keaulana added.

Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe and Ewa Villages districts are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Sen. Kurt Fevella (R) said COVID-19 is ripping through west Oahu due to a lack of education and people not knowing the vaccine is free.

He and his colleagues know several breakthrough cases and he believes it would help if those administering tests asked if the person is vaccinated.

“We started having numbers climb, and they telling us, it’s all people that never get vaccinated? How do we know exactly what you see? We don’t know?” he said.

The vaccinated case he knows went to the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics but was never asked about their vaccination status.

Sen. Fevella said his aunt was infected with COVID-19 while in the hospital for another reason. She ended up in the hospital for three months with COVID-19 and his good friend, former Majority Leader Sen. Kalani English stepped down earlier in 2021 after suffering complications from long-COVID.

“It’s real, it is real,” he said.

“We just get a lot of skeptics out there that listen to social media, and they shouldn’t,” he added.

The DOH said they do not have information on a person’s vaccine status when they are notified of a positive test and only find out when they follow up on positive cases. KHON2 will follow up with the DOH to see if that can be changed. 

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