‘Worst-case scenario is here’: Hawaii health official sounds alarm

National News

HONOLULU (KHON) – As COVID-19 cases surge, Hawaii’s positivity rate reached 5% Saturday for the first time since September.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) reported 707 new infections and three deaths Saturday. Some health officials believe cases will reach the thousands before 2021 is over.

“The worst-case scenario is here,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, Premier Medical Group founder. “It’s starting already as we’ve seen our number surge into the 700s. There is nothing we have done and nothing that was changed by the governor and the mayor … to address what the problems are.”

The delta variant is still spreading in Hawaii, Miscovich said, and is now being joined by omicron.

“Therefore, we are now going to then face the omicron variant on top of the delta variant with doubling every one and a half to three days, which is going to create a surge that most of us are predicting now that we’re well into the 1,500 to 2,000 a day range by virtue of end of January – if not sooner.”

A study released from the Imperial College London stated there is no evidence yet that omicron is milder than delta because hospitalization data remains limited. Miscovich warned it could be dangerous to tell people omicron is “mild” when we don’t know enough yet about the variant.

“The biggest factor that we need to talk about is waning immunity,” he said. “Prior to omicron … we already knew that six months after your vaccines with Pfizer, or Moderna or J&J, you were already only 50% immune. So that’s our real problem.”

If a booster shot is needed for full protection, Miscovich said only 21% of Hawaiians are really protected.

To help ease a potential surge, he said reducing capacity at bars, restaurants and large gatherings needs to happen as soon as possible. ““Let’s do some enforcement too. I am getting so many photos and videos of what the bars and restaurants look like in the large gatherings. It’s chilling to see so many people together, no masks on.”

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