Monday, April 6, 2020

Maui and COVID-19

Maui is an island. Maui has control of its borders that would be the envy of many communities on the mainland. Maui is also apparently not overrun with COVID-19. On the other hand, Maui is far from self-sufficient; Maui's economy is tourist-dependent.

What Maui needs is a vision and a plan.

My vision is this: Maui comes to be seen as a haven of health. All we need to do is test, test for current infection and test for past infection. Test, test, test. If we can test, we can control the spread of the virus. We can make Maui CPVID-19 free. Then we can advertise to potential visitors – come to paradise where the days are long and warm, and the island is COVID-19 free.

How can we get to that vision?

First, we need an epidemiologist in charge, someone who really knows what he or she is doing, someone who has experience like that gained by having been a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the CDC, someone who has chased disease, someone who has the executive experience to command a team. Get that person to Maui, give them a job, and give them a $5-10 million budget to get supplies and hire staff.

Then, get the tests, lots of them.

Then, test widely on Maui to find those with the disease, isolate them, find their contacts and test them, and isolate those who are positive. Wipe out the disease.

Then set up testing at the airport. Make it mandatory that everyone who comes on the island gets tested. That way, we can ensure that the island stays COVID-19 free. There will still have to be widespread testing to make sure the disease doesn’t sneak in, but with this regimen, guests can feel relatively safe – probably safer than they would be at home.

I don't know what the time line would be, but I would bet this would be achievable by late fall or certainly winter – peak tourist season.

That's my vision, and I'm sticking with it.

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Aloha Budd, Brilliant idea that needs to be seriously considered by the government. Best