Hawaii Governor Ige’s Conflict of Interest Hurting Hawaii

Hawaii Governor David Ige has a conflict of interest between his COVID-19 fears and his ability to govern. At age 63, he is nearing the age range of more susceptible COVID-19 patients. Therefore, his understandable decisions and policies to protect himself and his wife clash with what is best for the state’s overall health.

Local social lifestyle proving safety of getting back together

If people are congregating maskless[1] at family parties and beach get-togethers with only 26 COVID-19- related deaths out of 1,683[2] positive cases in four months, this number (1.5% mortality as of July 26, 2020) confirms the low threat of COVID-19 compared to seasonal flu and pneumonia (526 influenza and pneumonia deaths in 2017-2018[3] and 921 influenza and pneumonia deaths in 2018-2019[4], according to State of Hawaii Department of Health).

Except for smokers

COVID-19 does not kill Americans like it did Chinese and Italians. The question China and Italy should be asking is, “WHY?” Because COVID-19 is a lung-invader, I believe China’s horrible air quality and Italy’s heavy smokers compromised ill patients’ lung tissue, harming their recovery. Forbes article[5] “Smokers At Higher Risk Of Severe COVID-19 During Coronavirus Outbreak” mentions smokers sick with other respiratory diseases also get sicker than non-smoking patients.

Have most of the COVID-19 deaths around the world been smokers, in more polluted air cities, or in otherwise weakened respiratory conditions? In “New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates,” The New York Times reporter Lisa Friedman referred to a Harvard study of 3,080 counties in the United States. It showed that COVID-19 patients exposed to years of dirty air were more likely to die from the disease. I would like to see how the air quality in different countries compares with their COVID death rates.

Treatments

More importantly, there are readily available, affordable treatments at every pharmacy for sick coronavirus patients:

  • hydroxychloroquine[6] aka Plaquenil – anti-inflammatory, treatment for Lupus, malaria, and arthritis
  • chloroquine phosphate[7] aka Aralen – malaria treatment
  • inhaled generic butesonide[8] – steroid treatment for asthma delivered with a nebulizer

Although not developed for COVID-19, all have been used successfully on suffering COVID-19 patients. Ask your doctor and pharmacist about these options now, before experiencing symptoms. You do not have to be afraid anymore. We have treatment choices and information about how COVID-19 compares to more harmful diseases that we don’t fear.

Other diseases did not stop us

Hawaii has proof COVID-19 is not killing us in droves. Daily case counts may sound scary, but they do not equate to deaths. Hawaii did not shut down for swine flu, bird flu, leprosy, or pneumonia. Sports, schools, restaurants, and businesses can completely reopen, while emphasizing handwashing and staying at home when ill. COVID-19 is more like a bad cold for all but the lung-damaged.

Governor Ige’s fear is compromising his ability to govern. We need someone who can lead and focus on what’s best for the state as a whole.

Governor Ige did his best. He needs to step down now because he is hurting Hawaii.


[1] Toillion, John. “Oahu residents don’t follow safety protocols.” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, [Honolulu, Hawaii], 22 July 2020, p. A12, Letters to the Editor.

[2] Civil Beat Staff. “VIRUS TRACKER — JULY 26: 64 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii.” Civil Beat, 26 July 2020, https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/07/coronavirus-daily-news-hawaii/.

[3] HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISEASE OUTBREAK CONTROL DIVISION. “2017–2018 INFLUENZA SEASON SUMMARY.” 6 February 2019, page 5, https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2019/02/Annual-Flu-Report-2017-2018.pdf.

[4] HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISEASE OUTBREAK CONTROL DIVISION. “Influenza Surveillance Report, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 1 WEEK 39: SEPTEMBER 22, 2019–SEPTEMBER 28, 2019.” 11 October 2019, Vol. 2019 (39), page 517, https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2018/11/Combined_2018-19.pdf.

[5] Forster, Victoria. “Smokers At Higher Risk Of Severe COVID-19 During Coronavirus Outbreak.” Forbes, 23 March 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2020/03/23/smokers-at-higher-risk-of-severe–covid-19-during-coronavirus-outbreak/#790bfde97638.

[6] Attkisson, Sharyl. “Vindicated? Trump-touted COVID-19 drug hydroxychloroquine works, according to new study.” Just the News, 3 July 2020, https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/coronavirus/trump-touted-covid-19-drug-hydroxychloroquine-works-according-new-study#article.

[7] Manfredi, Lucas. “What are Hydroxychloroquine, Chloroquine and how much do these potential coronavirus drugs cost?” Fox News, 24 March 2019, https://www.foxbusiness.com/healthcare/what-are-hydroxychloroquine-chloroquine-and-how-much-do-they-cost.

[8] Georgatos, Debbie. “Dr. Richard Bartlett Shares Covid Information (Update with PDF Links).” America Can We Talk? 13 July 2020, https://americacanwetalk.org/dr-richard-bartlett-shares-covid-information/.


Featured image from Rawpixel Ltd. on flickr.

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