HONOLULU (Hawaii NEWSNOW) – As the pandemic enters its third year, are people still motivated to take daily precautions to protect themselves and others?
Hawaii News Now went to Magic Island to talk to 10 people about vaccines, mandates, and how people felt about the growing number of cases.
Then, a respected epidemiologist reacted to his opinion.
“As a health worker, it bothers me,” said Leah Ohlert, a local nurse. “We just had Christmas, we had New Year’s, that kind of makes me nervous.”
Ohlert would like to see more sanctions reduce the case count.
Oahu resident Antonio Anagren thinks the problem is simple.
“I’m not at all worried about COVID,” he said. “Of course, I’ve already been vaccinated. I got my booster shots. As long as I do the work I need to do, there’s no need to worry about it.”
David McDermott, another Oahu resident, nearly wore his mask on his outdoor promenade. He feels the mandate and sanctions have helped.
“Of course we are Americans, we do what we want to do,” McDermott said. “And the pandemic doesn’t care whether you’re a free thinker or not, it’s going to get you. And this type is a concern because it is so contagious.”
Most of the people Hawaii News Now spoke to did not heed the restrictions and were all for vaccinations.
One person was not relying on shots or information from government officials.
“I think it’s a mask, it’s an intimidation tactic,” Tammy Rodriguez said. “To come out with the so-called virus and come out with the vaccine immediately? It’s just a corrupt world.”
Rodriguez said her employer has mandated the vaccine, and she was the only one who decided against the shot.
“I stood up, and I wasn’t going to be a follower,” she said.
Responding to skeptics, DeWolf Miller, an epidemiologist at the University of Hawaii, said Rodriguez’s outlook is disappointing.
“I don’t know how to approach these people with reason and caution,” Miller said. “We live together in a community and to recognize that a community will be safe if we all get vaccinated.”
But overall, Miller found People’s comments encouraging.
“I’m fully vaccinated, got a booster, I’ve put on my mask,” said Michael Noble, a Louisville resident and Oahu visitor. “Restrictions are not an inconvenience. It makes me enjoy my time here more.”
“The number of cases is really worrying,” said resident Ann Riley. “I’ve been vaccinated and raised. I think that’s sensible.”
“Do more research, wear your mask, stay six feet apart,” said Elizabeth Corey. “We’re an island. So obviously we can be pretty much affected by something like this.”
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