Scrolling through Instagram past the warnings to stay home due to COVID-19, you see it.
A $49 flight deal to Hawai'i. “Your office at the beach!" The ad paints a serene image of waves crashing while you answer emails and sip Mai Tais. What this ad doesn’t show are the estimated available in the entire state (as of 2018), with some islands having only 9 and Hawai'i island, the second largest island in terms of population, having only 24 beds. With a population of , these 230 ICU beds will go quickly and those in more remote islands will be left without care should COVID-19 spread. Add to this the fact that , and this paints an even more dire picture of how strained Hawai'i’s healthcare system will be should the pandemic take hold in the state. In times of panic and pandemics, tourist destinations and tropical paradises are hit hardest. They will hesitate to close ports and airports as tourism is the primary source of income and livelihood. That is why you must be the one to say no to traveling to Hawai'i. You are directly responsible for the safety of the state.
We talk constantly now of staying indoors to protect our most vulnerable; those immunocompromised or above the age of 60. But just as there are vulnerable individuals, there are vulnerable states and this must rise to our common conscience. Hawai'i is one of them. Compare Hawai'i’s with California’s . In concrete terms this means that there are 1.81 acute critical care beds per 10,000 people in California compared to 1.6 in Hawai'i. While the numbers seem small, the impact on Hawai'i’s death toll will not be. Hawai'i is short of the minimum number of physicians required to adequately care for the population. On some islands, such as Hawai'i Island, they are short . Add to this that putting them at particularly high risk of serious complications from COVID-19. In addition to an incredibly precarious health infrastructure, Hawai'i is 2,467 miles from the nearest land mass, lending it even greater vulnerability should more advanced care be needed for those that fall ill or should food and supplies run out.
As of. It is only a matter of time before a tourist is responsible for the community transmission of a deadly virus that cripples the health of the people of Hawai'i. And if this is not enough to convince you to postpone your vacation, just think how much better a future vacation to Hawai'i will be if the state isn’t ravaged by COVID-19.
(Ed: Governor David Ige has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone returning to or visiting Hawai'i.)