HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are less than 1,000 active cases statewide for the first time in months, and all the neighbor islands have single-digit case numbers.
Hawaii was averaging less than five COVID-19 cases per day during 2020s Memorial Day weekend.
Graduation and beach parties would push the state into double digits, then skyrocket to triple digits after the Fourth of July weekend. Officials were forced to put restrictions on beaches and hiking trails throughout the summer.
“We had no immunity then, and now over 75% of our people who are adults have at least one shot and by this time next month, my goodness, we will be we will be able to start using the word herd immunity,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said.
“When you start seeing zero cases, that tells us that there’s so little virus around that it doesn’t have anywhere to go, because the people around the virus are vaccinated,” he explained.
Green has been eying July 2021 as the month the state reaches full protection from COVID-19, with two million shots in arms or about one million residents fully vaccinated.
As of Sunday, May 23, there are just over 1.5 million shots in arms.
“That could mean a normal summer, which wouldn’t that be great?”
Green said he is working on a big policy change to propose to Gov. David Ige that could make summer feel like pre-COVID times again.
“We’re calling it Hawaii Safe Events, kind of like the governor’s name for the Safe Travels,” he explained.
“I’m hopeful that come mid-summer, we’ll be able to have big gatherings again for concerts and conventions and mid-summer parties because people have been vaccinated,” he continued.
He said the same rules would apply; vaccinated people would show their card and non-vaccinated people would need to take a pre-test to enter.
“We’re going to encourage people at large events to wear masks anyway, just to be super safe,” Green explained.
He said Hawaii is in the right place with case counts and hospitalizations decreasing. He added that people should be careful at graduation parties.
“I’m a little bit more worried about underage drinking than I am about COVID,” he said. “If people are vaccinated for the most part at gatherings, that’s a good sign that should be minimal spread.”
“That’s why I don’t have too much concern about aunties putting lei on their nephews and nieces that are graduating because they’re probably vaccinated and therefore not a risk,” Green added.