Source: Brian C. Joondeph
Hawaii is an American gem, a collection of island paradises that one can travel to in a reasonable period of time from most of the US mainland. Hawaii poses no issues with language, currency, or cell phone service. The climate is wonderful, with beaches, palm trees, and sea breezes. Under COVID however, visiting Hawaii is more like checking into prison with myriad rules and procedures, including monitored quarantine and GPS bracelets.
Virtually all countries requiring a COVID test for admission allow the standard PCR test now available ubiquitously in any pharmacy, lab, or parking lot test center. But not Hawaii. Each Hawaiian island, despite being part of a single state, makes its own rules, similar what American states do under the concept of federalism.
Hawaii, for inexplicable reasons, mandates a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) rather than the standard PCR test. Both are molecular tests and their sensitivity is based on amplification cycles, as many of us have written about, that can be artificially elevated to the point of absurdity. It’s simply another version of the standard PCR test but not readily available and challenging for visitors who need the test within 72 hours of travel.
Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands, where we happen to be visiting as I write this, has its own rules. Either a 10-day strict quarantine or a standard PCR test and a three-day “resort bubble” quarantine. The rest of Hawaii requires either the specific NAAT test or a 10-day quarantine.
Resort quarantine means staying at the hotel for 72 hours then retesting to leave quarantine. Hardly draconian, it’s more like the type of prison sentence a well connected Democrat might receive, like Jeffrey Epstein were he still alive.
The NAAT is not readily available, requiring an appointment and perhaps a long drive to an approved test center, and must be done within 72 hours of travel to Hawaii, another task ahead of the normal busy-ness preparing for a vacation.
Why does only Hawaii require this NAAT test and no other countries or states? For any investigative reporters out there, I’ll bet there is a story behind this, involving money. It would be interesting to see who makes and performs the NAAT test, who decided it’s necessary, and whether there is a money chain that can be followed. As with much of COVID, from vaccines to therapeutics, “follow the money” explains more than “follow the science.”
Before travel to Hawaii, all flight, lodging, and travel information must be entered into a specific website. Test results must be uploaded, but the testing options are for only the NAAT test, not the standard PCR test we used for Kauai.
This led to additional airport lines, confusion among the gate agents, questions to supervisors, and me rifling through a stack of papers, all to take a short vacation in the sun. Leave it to government agencies to make a simple process complex. Too bad Hawaii doesn’t border Mexico. Then visitors would just have to walk across the border, not worrying about testing or quarantine.
Once on the plane it was business as usual, except for incessant reminders to keep my mask on. Or else I would be hauled off the plane like those in the articles regularly featured in the Daily Mail. We were told we could briefly lower our masks to take a bite of food or sip of beverage. How generous.
Too bad United didn’t provide nose masks to compliment the in-flight dining experience. At least we were not flying Delta or American, else we would have received a lecture about voting laws just after the preflight safety announcement.
Who knew airlines were so concerned about voting laws? If only they put forth as much effort into being on time as they do weighing in on matters unrelated to their business. I’m sure plane passengers, stuffed like sardines into uncomfortably small seats, will feel consoled to be flying on woke airlines. Perhaps Delta or American could explain why photo ID is needed to fly but it is somehow racist to ask the same of voters.
Airplane movies were the usual tripe of woke and politically correct themes played by actors and actresses of the currently in vogue skin color, ethnicity, and gender preference. And as entertaining as being constantly reminded to keep my mask on, even while eating.
Once in Kauai, there were more lines, this time manned (or “womanned”, to keep the gender police happy) by Hawaii National Guard members, scanning QR codes, looking at documents, and sending us to more lines and paperwork. I was reminded of traveling from West to East Germany as a young kid at the height of the Cold War, showing papers, facing inspection and scrutiny.
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Once at our hotel, we again had to show our papers (COVID test results), place a $1000 per person deposit in case we broke our 72-hour quarantine, be fitted with a Bluetooth wrist monitor paired to an app we had to download on our phones, all to keep us from wandering off the resort property. The beach was off limits, despite sun, breeze, and salt water as the best virus killers out there.
After 72 hours we could have another COVID test for $100 per person to ditch the wrist monitor and leave the hotel property. With masks of course. So much for the CDC’s recent pronouncement that fully vaccinated individuals can now travel safely. It’s still about testing, control, and limits on personal freedom.
While I am poking fun at COVID restrictions and the woke culture, it is alarming to see how much has changed over the past year, the rules and restrictions, the controls and limits on travel and movement.
Is this the new norm? Is this the great reset that globalist elites refer to? If you believe this is conspiracy theory talk, don’t take my word for it. Instead listen to Justin Trudeau, one of the elites, “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset.”
It’s wonderful to be able to travel to a beautiful spot like Hawaii, but the tradeoff is being treated like a prisoner, complete with GPS monitors and endless requests to “show me your papers”.
The scary part is how easy it was to pull this off in the “land of the free”. Once the wannabe fascist mayors and governors get a taste of power, good luck getting them to give it up.
Will we ever go back to preCOVID life or will new strains or variants, and concocted “surges” serve as an excuse to keep us in perpetual lockdown? A year into COVID, France is entering its third national lockdown. When will Dr Fauci recommend the same for the US?
This past year America took a big step toward tyranny of the national-corporate state with few signs of reversal.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer. He is on sabbatical from social media.