Ballots going out for Hawai‘i’s first all-mail general election
The ballots — the first of many more sent to registered voters across the state this week — are being mailed early to ensure timely delivery before the Nov. 3 general election
Hawaii Island, COVID-19 Impact Response & Confusion
County Council Chairman Aaron Chung has called an emergency council meeting for 1 p.m. today to get a briefing from Mayor Harry Kim about how interisland and trans-Pacific travel will work come Thursday.
The public can watch the meeting at the council’s website via livestream. http://hawaiicounty.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1.
The state plans to reopen to trans-Pacific travelers Thursday without a quarantine period provided they get a pre-travel test within 72 hours of their flight. Hawaii County will require both a pre-flight COVID-19 test and a free rapid-response COVID-19 antigen test at the airport itself.
In addition, a pre-travel testing program for interisland travel between Oahu, Maui and Kauai begins Thursday, but Hawaii County has not yet signed on.
“There seems to be confusion on the part of some as to how this program will be implemented,” Chung said. “We are so close to that Oct. 15 date, the council feels that it is wise to allow the mayor an opportunity to further explain his plan and to answer questions.”
State health officials on Tuesday reported 21 new COVID-19 cases on Hawaii Island, bringing the total number of cases to 974 since Feb. 28.
Statewide, 951 COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization, including 50 virus patients on Hawaii Island, according to the center’s noon update.
Hawaii County Civil Defense reported no new coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, leaving the death toll at 37. That figure includes 27 residents of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. The state’s official COVID-19 death toll stands at 173 but does not include 22 coronavirus-related fatalities in Hawaii County due to reporting lags. Civil Beat calculates 195 people have died because of the disease.
There are approximately 2,564 people with active coronavirus infections in the state.
At least 950 people have been hospitalized with the virus in Hawaii since the start of the pandemic, approximately 7% of all Hawaii residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The red line for inflection rates is 5% of the population.
STATEWIDE, there are currently 34 people with COVID-19 in Hawaii in intensive care units. Eighteen COVID-19 patients are on ventilators. Hawaii hospital beds are 65% full and intensive care units are 59% full, including both COVID-19 patients and other patients.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority seeks your input
HTA”S destination management plans are designed to give each county a guide for tourism and its impact on local services, natural and cultural resources, and residents’ quality of life. It will allow each county to rebuild, redefine and reset its tourism direction over a three-year period through a collaborative process.
A destination management action plan is being developed for each county.
The plans are designed to give each county a guide for tourism and its impact on local services, natural and cultural resources and residents’ quality of life. It will allow each county to rebuild, redefine and reset its tourism direction over a three-year period through a collaborative process, HTA said.
Committees for Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai began meeting in September.
Big Island’s meeting will happen in October and Oahu’s will convene next year. The committee’s ideas will be shared with the public during a series of interactive meetings on Zoom from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dates and details to register are found below:
- Nov. 17: Hawaii Island Community Meeting
Hawaii’s Department of Health Receives Long-Overdue Change in Management
Dr. Libby Char, the Hawaii Department of Health’s new acting director, is bringing a more collaborative and transparent approach to leading the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Char took charge of the DOH last month, after her predecessor Bruce Anderson and then-State Epidemiologist Sarah Park had come under fire for various mismanagement outcomes.
What Char says she’ll do differently is partner closely with other government agencies and business leaders to help translate pandemic-related medical guidance into effective policies and programs. She also says she’ll be more transparent with these partners and the public.
But as the state prepares to reopen to tourism later this month, Char faces a great number of challenges in her new role.
While her chief concern is staving off the virus, she must also consider that repeated economic shutdowns and strict social restrictions can breed public health problems of their own.
Char said the DOH needs to step up, but also emphasized that all Hawaii residents need to be vigilant.
“I know people are fatigued,” she said. “But I think if we all keep the mindset that, ‘What I do keeps you safe, what you do keeps me safe,’ and if we work together, we can do this.”
A Welcome Change in Management at DoH
Last month, state Rep. John Mizuno visited the 92-bed Liliha Healthcare Center after receiving a tip from a nurse there about an uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak.
The nursing home’s director of nursing told Mizuno she needed help — immediately.
So he contacted senior administrators at the Hawaii Department of Health, who in turn contacted the DOH’s new acting director Dr. Libby Char. Four hours later, Char and her colleagues had organized the relocation of 15 nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 to Wahiawa General Hospital.
Removing those sick patients from the nursing home to help contain the virus required the DOH officials to problem-solve with the hospital, the nursing home and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii.
— Big EV News today
CA mandate to go all electric with cars and auto-trucks beginning 2035
– drivers throughout the U.S. may want to start a rainy day car fund in the wake of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s climate-change-focused ban on sales of new gas-powered autos-SUV’s and light trucks, beginning in 2035.
Under Newsom’s order, the state’s air regulator, the California Air Resources Board, will develop regulations that ensure every new passenger car and truck sold in the state is electric or otherwise “zero-emissions” by 2035.
- ChargePoint, the world’s largest provider of electric-vehicle charging stations, said on Thursday it is going public with a reverse-merger agreement worth $2.4 billion.
— EV 2020 Political News
The Biden campaign has previously underlined the important role electric vehicles (EV) will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
To encourage EV adoption, the campaign has three key targets: deploying 500,000 new public EV charging outlets, restoring the full EV tax credit, and developing a new fuel economy target.
Wood Mackenzie’s projection for public charging infrastructure deployments in the US is 800,000 new outlets by 2030. “A promise of 500,000 new charging outlets rings hollow considering organic growth is projected to be higher,” said Ram Chandrasekaran, Wood Mackenzie Principal Analyst.
However, according to Wood Mackenzie’s analysis, fewer than 20% of the projected charging outlets are fast chargers.
“Range anxiety – running out of charge before reaching your destination – is one of the biggest consumer hurdles for EV adoption. Deployment of fast chargers is arguably the best way to combat range anxiety regardless of the size of the car’s battery pack,” added Chandrasekaran.
While fast chargers are 15 times quicker to charge the vehicle, they are 30 times more expensive to construct and operate.
“A higher share of fast chargers will be harder to achieve without well-directed efforts from the federal government. If the policy support promised by the Biden campaign is effective in increasing the number of fast chargers, it could ease some consumer concerns and boost EV sales,” said Chandrasekaran.
The current tax credit system is capped at the first 200,000 vehicles sold by a manufacturer. As of 2020, Tesla and General Motors have reached the cap, while Nissan and Ford are rapidly approaching it and other automakers are below the halfway point.
While previous efforts to increase the cap failed last year, Wood Mackenzie believes the Biden campaign’s promise to restore the full tax credit would mean increasing the cap to 600,000 as outlined in the previously down-voted bill.
“The average price difference between a number of internal combustion engine vehicles and their battery electric vehicle counterparts is $8,000. Raising the cap would immediately help Tesla and General Motors. All other automakers would likely welcome the opportunity to achieve the economies of volume before feeling the pressure to reduce the sale price of their EVs,” added Chandrasekaran.
Increasing the cap to 600,000 would positively impact over 7.5 million new EV sales, whereas the current cap helps only 2.2 million EVs. “A cap change for the tax credit system would certainly boost the share of EVs in the US for the next four to five years,” said Chandrasekaran.
As noted in Wood Mackenzie’s research, the most impactful policy change for EV adoption would be increasing federal fuel economy targets.
On 31st March, during the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration passed the SAFE act. The directive reduced fleet-level fuel economy targets and implemented less stringent goals for 2021-2026.
The Obama-era regulations targeted a 5% improvement in fleet fuel economy every year. The Trump administration’s new rules reduced this target to 1.5% annually.
“Going beyond the Obama-era regulations or even reversing the new targets set by the Trump administration would definitely increase EV adoption.
“This has already been evidenced in other global markets. Setting a target at an automaker fleet level forces the automaker to manufacture more efficient cars. Automakers would also be required to spend more money on effective marketing campaigns and automaker-provided subsidies,” added Chandrasekaran.
Passing stricter emissions regulations would push US EV sales over the 4 million mark by 2030, 50% higher than Wood Mackenzie’s base case projection.