The state of Hawaii has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the aftermath of the Maui fires. Health officials believe that the current case count could be at least six times higher due to decreased testing compared to a year ago and the presence of the new variant BA 2.86. Hospitals are also seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases among children, particularly those who are not vaccinated. In response, some on social media claimed that the news had been sensationalized and felt that the tragedies of the wildfire were being exploited to promote COVID-19 vaccines.
Risk level: Low
Recommendation: This alert is provided for informational purposes only. Continuing to monitor public responses to rising cases is recommended.