- One major US city has locked back down again because of the coronavirus.
- A stay-at-home order is now in effect that covers the Hawaiian island of Oahu, which includes the state’s capital city of Honolulu.
- This comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the US has passed 5.8 million since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Hawaii has become the latest example of a couple of difficult yet fundamental truths about the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the coronavirus-inspired lockdown that was set to begin Thursday on the island of Oahu — which also encompasses the state capital of Honolulu.
Time was, Hawaii was regarded as one of the few so-called “safe” corners of the US. Its status as an island and the relative difficulty in getting to it seemed to make it a bit harder for the coronavirus to spread to it from the US mainland compared to, say, between adjacent states like New York and New Jersey. And yet, as of Thursday, the state’s capital was set to return once again to a lockdown status, with a stay-at-home order meaning the closure of non-essential businesses like retail stores and gyms. They’ll have to stay closed for two weeks, and this order also keeps public spaces like beaches and parks, as well as bars, closed, too.
The lockdown order went into effect across Oahu following local media reporting 215 new cases of the virus in Hawaii on Tuesday. And there are a few major differences with this new lockdown, compared to what the area experienced previously, back in March.
For one thing, churches will still be able to provide services. Also, local officials are gearing up for a major effort to keep cases low once Oahu comes out of the stay-at-home order — which will happen two weeks from now, at the earliest.
A news release about the return to shutdown states the following:
The order “requires all individuals anywhere on Oahu to shelter in place — that is, stay at home and work from home — except for certain essential activities and for all businesses within the city to cease activities, except for certain essential businesses, healthcare operations, essential infrastructure, and essential government functions.”
The plan for the prevention effort post-lockdown includes conducting at least 5,000 tests each day. Additionally, as many as 500 contact tracers will be hired, and a Waikiki hotel will be used to quarantine anyone who doesn’t have another option where they can do so. Moreover, the coronavirus tests will be free, and participants won’t need insurance or a referral to get one.
This news comes as the latest data from John Hopkins University shows that there have been more than 5.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the US since the pandemic began, along with more than 180,000 deaths.