Coronavirus Report

California Democrat suggests Hawaii should be model state for mitigating coronavirus infections nationwide

Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) suggested that states nationwide should follow Hawaii as a model in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

“Hawaii is the one state in our nation where they have very few infections,” Takano said Monday in an interview with The Hill’s Steve Clemons. 

“We have one American state where I believe the measures are being taken very seriously. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the nation, if we try to impose that level of rigorousness, we would meet with a significant amount of rebellion,” Takano added. 

Hawaii’s state health department reported a total of 814 COVID-19 cases, including 11 new cases, as of Sunday. 

Takano noted measures taken by Hawaii to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, including calling for all visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state. 

“You have to go to quarantine, self-quarantine in your residence. You can’t even take out the garbage potentially. You’re facing a $5,000 fine. You fill out a questionnaire every day, you have to report to the health officials. You fly from Maui to Honolulu, you’ve got to quarantine in Honolulu, and then vice versa return,” Takano said. “I mean, they’re taking it very seriously in Hawaii.”

Takano also said it is “unfortunate that mask wearing has become polarized” among political parties. 

He said residents in his Riverside County district are “pretty compliant with mask wearing.” But he added that the same is not true elsewhere in the state.

“I’m hearing from people who go to Huntington Beach or the beach communities, mask wearing and social distancing, especially among the young, is simply not a norm,” Takano said. “And I think the governor is trying to rein back what he opened up. I think he’s realizing the infection rates are going up or they’re staying constant. As we test more people that infection rate is staying constant. It’s not clear that the rate is increasing. But certainly I think he’s very concerned, I don’t think he really wanted to open up as fast as he did.”

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced residents would be required to wear masks when outside of their homes. The requirement was put in place after cases in the state spiked as restrictions were lifted. 

Clemons asked Takano if he has “any optimism” that Republican and Democratic leaders will be able to resolve the partisan rift in the coronavirus response and use of masks. 

“There is some optimism. I think unfortunately, it may take more people dying, ICU units overloaded again,” Takano responded. “As with the AIDS epidemic, which initially was mostly confined to the LGBT community, specifically gay men and intravenous drug users, as people began to know people personally who died, I think that’s when the idea that it wasn’t going to affect you personally changed.”

Tags California Coronavirus COVID-19 face masks Gavin Newsom Hawaii Mark Takano Social distancing
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