Hawaii Pandemic History: Weʻre Back P2


Hawai’i Pandemic History:


Weʻre Back – Part 2

As we said, this isnʻt the first pandemic to hit Hawaii and it wonʻt be the last. If you visit often or follow local news, you may know there are mixed feelings about tourism resuming in the islands. At one point, there was talk of it as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. So this post is to give you a little background on the official and public Hawaii Corona Virus pandemic response. As well as some historical reasons and deep, sad memories.

This post is Part 2 of a three part series. However, if you just want the latest info, go straight to our Covid-19 Updates page. If you havenʻt read Weʻre Back: Part 1 feel free to catch up, otherwise, welcome to Part 2. We hope youʻll love it enough to read Part 3.

Hawaii Pandemic and tourism Covid Response quote picture

“He ho’okele wa’a no ka la ‘ino”

“A steersman for a stormy day.” A courageous person. – Pukui

Pandemics and the Hawaiian Islands

This history started with the very first European visitors, Captain Cook and his crew. They brought new disease and a Hawaii pandemic. But this was just a beginning. In fact, every Monarch in the Hawaiian Kingdom would have to tackle this issue. Although he lived to old age, Kamehameha saw disease ravage his homeland. His son, Liholiho traveled to England and died of the measles in July 1824. Kauikeaouli would battle a smallpox outbreak on Oahu which killed 2500. Leaving just 70,000 from up to two million when Captain Cook had arrived.

Their cousins also would face these problems. Kamehameha IV and his wife Queen Emma founded Queens Hospital in response. Kamehameha V watched 125,000 of his people die during his life. That meant less than 52,000 were left by his death in 1872.

King William Charles Lunalilo himself passed of tuberculosis. King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Liliuokalani would continue the good work at Kalaupapa Leper Colony. Then, after the illegal overthrow of the Monarchy, the Spanish Flu would ravage the islands. Widely considered the closest event to this Corona Virus, it took several thousand souls.

Pre-existing Conditions and this Pandemic

Hopefully that helps give a little context to the current Hawaii Corona Virus response. Another concern some have about the marketing as a safe tourist destination is the health status of those in the islands. Some of the main pre-existing conditions that make Covid worse are common here. Many are 2.5+ times more likely to have diabetes or HIV/AIDS. The rates of kidney failure are 30 percent higher and cancer rates are elevated as well. Not to mention obesity is 80 percent more likely and cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death.

All of which obviously increase chances of complications from Covid. Not to mention the close knit family we have in these islands and ʻweʻ before ʻmeʻ spirit. We shared some of the other impacts in Hawaii Travel Update: Weʻre Back – Part 1 and weʻll share more information in Whatʻs Open on Oahu: Weʻre Back – Part 3. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about history in Hawaii. Hopefully we can share with you in person one day.


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