Letters to the Editor: April 7, 2021

Making more on unemployment

There has been a large increase in the number of visitors recently. Costco is crowded, restaurants are busy, and rental cars are hard to find.

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Unfortunately, there are very few applicants for the numerous jobs being posted as our economy has started to grow. Right now, a person can receive more money being unemployed than working. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average unemployment benefit in Hawaii in May 2020 was $466 per week. Today, with the federal COVID relief bill adding $300 per week, the total unemployment benefit averages $766 per week (with up to $10,200 per year exempt from federal income tax). A worker earning $15 per hour makes $600 for a 40-hour work week, less tax and medical insurance deductions.

A state requirement that a person collecting unemployment benefits had to apply for three jobs each week was waived early in the pandemic, so people do not even have to pretend to be looking for work. That should be reinstated. This issue needs to be corrected immediately if we are to have a workforce to support a return to our pre-COVID economy. We cannot pay people more to be unemployed than they earn working.

Don Fujimoto

Waikoloa

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Thanks for the aloha

A big thank you to the great folks at West Hawaii Community Health Center. My wife and I got our second COVID shots at their clinic Friday. The crew, National Guard, volunteers and everyone involved were absolutely excellent. I have lived here a long time. This was the best organized event that I have ever encountered in Hawaii. Much appreciated and thanks for the professional service and all the aloha.

Don Hurzeler

Kailua-Kona

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Is it personal?

I wonder if there is anything personal in Mayor Mitch Roth wanting to replace Mark Van Pernis? After all, they faced each other in the court rooms numerous times in the past. I have known Van Pernis since 1993, he was my company attorney for 24 years. He is a very smart man, and I found him to be fair.

I am also very disappointed that the online version of West Hawaii Today allowed the mocking posts about the speech impairment of Van Pernis. Making fan of the medical condition of anyone is uncalled for, and distasteful.

John S. Rabi

Kona

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The illogic of vaccine passports

The state of Hawaii, the United States government and many other nations are considering the issuance of “vaccine passports” to restore free travel and other social opportunities. There exists a serious flaw in the reasoning behind this.

According to the CDC, we should all wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid unnecessary travel to reduce the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Also here in Hawaii, on arrival or travel between the Islands we must produce a recent negative COVID virus test or submit to a 10-day quarantine.

Now consider the CDC also recommends vaccinated individuals continue to take all the precautions non-vaccinated people take because they can still catch and potentially spread the SARS-Cov-2 virus. It defies all logic to say, “People who can still carry and spread the virus should be exempt from travel restrictions because they’ve been vaccinated.” Yet this is exactly what is being proposed when the idea of a “vaccine passport” is being discussed. The glaring inconsistency of this idea seems to have escaped notice.

The development of vaccine passports was widely discussed prior to the recent Pfizer announcement that its vaccine can protect against infection and spread, however, there are still several U.S. vaccines and at least two foreign vaccines that have not demonstrated such protections. Regardless, many states are moving forward to create the mechanism to implement such a program. The issuance of vaccine passports, while intended to promote travel, would essentially create a privileged class of individuals without any rational scientific basis to justify it. The consequence of such policy then becomes one of coercion to vaccination or suffer limitation of your personal liberty for failure to comply, all the while potentially contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

James R. Mann

Waikoloa

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Letters policy

Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at www.westhawaiitoday.com/?p=118321 or via email to letters@westhawaiitoday.com.