HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi sent a message to those who are not vaccinated and said they are holding everybody else back as COVID-19 cases rise.
Many who have declined to get vaccinated say it is because none of the vaccines have received final approval from the FDA and are authorized only for emergency use. Blangiardi added that Hawaii is a long way from getting past the pandemic.
The mayor also said he has no interest in rolling back to a more restrictive tier. He said it goes against his goal of putting more people back to work and reviving the economy.
Honolulu’s daily average of COVID-19 cases is now at 89, with a positivity rate of 4%. Mayor Blangiardi added that vaccinations are also dropping statewide to about 15,000 per week. This is despite all the efforts that have been done to get people vaccinated.
“We have begged, pleaded, cajoled, and provided incentives for people to get vaccinated. There’s been a lot of education out there about the safety of it,” said Blangiardi.
Health officials said most of the cases are those who are unvaccinated. Hawaii is still creeping ever so slowly toward getting 60% of the population fully vaccinated.
“And my concern there is where all the people who have gone out, have gotten vaccinated, who have acted responsibly to their own families, and to the rest of us in trying to move forward. It’s difficult to be held back like this, that those people are still unwilling to be vaccinated,” said the mayor.
He pointed out that the rising number of cases holds back the efforts to get the economy back on track. The best way to do that, according to Blangiardi, is to reach that goal of getting 70% of the population vaccinated and have all restrictions lifted. The state is still a long way from getting there.
“There’s a lot of economics at play right now, on how we stabilize our local economy in my eyes and our attention is on that issue,” said Blangiardi.
He added that this surge comes at a time when the eviction moratorium is set to end on August 6, and that could bring its own set of problems.
“We’re dealing with those issues right now, in anticipation of perhaps as many as thousands, a couple of thousand families could possibly be evicted and the consequences of that,” he said.