I haven’t flown since February, which is by far the longest I’ve gone in my adult life, not stepping on an airplane. The longest stretch prior to that was about a month. One of the main reasons I haven’t flown is because I don’t trust that the people sitting near me will be COVID-19 free. But man, I’m ready to fly and one of the first places I want to go is Hawaii.
Prior to October 15, every traveler to Hawaii, including residents, had to quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they had tested negative for COVID-19 or not. Then the islands implemented new rules to throw a lifeline to the tourism industry, whereby travelers could avoid the strict 14-day quarantine if they could prove they’d had a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding the last segment of their flight. I’ve written about how I just don’t see Hawaii not shutting back down again because the pre-testing is kind of a joke. Not only can a lot happen between the time someone gets a test and the time they travel, but they could pick up the virus in the airport or on the flight over.
On top of that, because it was so difficult to get a test result back in time to make the 72-hour cut-off, there were reports of people using friends’ test results so they could enter and it was easy to just change the name using PhotoShop.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now, according to USA Today: A Hawaiian couple that boarded a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii after knowingly testing positive for COVID-19 has been arrested.
“The Kaua‘i Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY that Wailua residents Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were taken into custody Sunday for “placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death.”
According to a police report, Moribe, 41, and Peterson, 46, were ordered by the Quarantine Station at the San Francisco International Airport to isolate after testing positive for the highly contagious virus.
The couple, however, defied airport orders and boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to the islands. Moribe and Peterson were accompanied by a 4-year-old child.”
That is so selfish and reckless and sadly, they likely aren’t the first. To my dismay, I know people who have flown either with COVID-19 or had been in close contact with someone who had it.
BTW: Yesterday, Kauai temporarily opted out of the pre-testing program as their hospitals are at capacity. This means that all travelers to Kauai have to quarantine for 14 days. As much as I love flying and travel to Hawaii especially, I’m staying home until the vaccine is widely dispersed and COVID-19 numbers go down.