Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), not based upon science but its continued prejudice against the cruise industry, wanted to extend the “No Sail” Order through February 2021. This was not based upon science, but rather a deep-seated prejudice that because cruise ships are effectively a closed system the chance of the spread of COVID-19 among the ship is too great. I have written enough about that, so I am not going to repeat it here.
The Coronavirus Task Force overruled the CDC recommendation and limited the “No Sail” Order to October 31, 2020; the date of the cruise line self-imposed date. Why? And why would I possibly agree with the Task Force that has been incredibly politicized?
Let’s leave for the moment that a number of cruise lines have successfully restarted operations and the only instance of actual COVID-19 infections was as the result of one small cruise line blatantly violating protocols months ago. SeaDream Yacht Club, PG Cruises (Paul Gauguin), MSC, Costa, Mein Shiff, etc. have all been sailing without any infections. Yes, there have been a few false-positive readings, but no COVID-19 infections or spread!
I have written enough about the fact that we are all going to have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. It is not going to “magically disappear”. A vaccine is not going to be available and distributed for – at a minimum – months. The vaccine is, at best, going to be 70% effective (leaving at least 30% of those who get it vulnerable). And, without limitation, many people will not get the vaccine (for a number of reasons, whether legitimate or not).
I have also written about how the cruise lines have started operations and instituted multiple layers of protections and controls to not only significantly…possibly as scientifically practical as possible…reduce the chance of COVID-19 infecting anyone on a cruise ship, but also to control an outbreak if, by some remote chance, it occurs. This includes, without limitation:
Take a moment. Breathe. Think of SCIENCE. Think of PROBABILITIES. OK, now let’s discuss this.
The fact is that the vast majority of people do not have COVID-19. It is also a fact that it is estimated that 10% of the population has already had COVID-19 and, let’s not forget this: Survived without any significant complications.
Now, let’s consider the probability of someone who has COVID-19 actually getting on a cruise ship after being testing negative before departing for the ship. If they are infected they aren’t leaving home.
Now, let’s consider the probability of someone who has tested negative for COVID-19 three to five days ago being COVID-19 positive when they arrive at the ship. The probabilities are incredibly small, but they do exist. Why? Because most people will be flying to the port of embarkation so they have to expose themselves to airports, hotels, transfers, possibly restaurants, etc. OMG!
BUT WAIT: The CDC claims it is safe to go to an airport, fly on a plane for many hours, stay in a hotel, take an Uber, dine in a restaurant. So how is exposure to these external situations going to significantly increase the extremely low possibility of bringing COVID-19 onto a ship?
BUT ALSO CONSIDER THIS: The CDC has not shared statistics concerning to what extent wearing a face mask reduces your chance of becoming infected if there are none of the controls, no less if everyone is following them. What it does say is that it is “significant”. (And, of course, the same holds true for washing your hands.)
Everyone needs to make their own decision about whether they wish to dine in a restaurant, go to a friend’s house, go to a movie theater (YES, the CDC doesn’t recommend shuttering them), sit in a small flying metal tube with a hundred plus other people (a/k/a YES the CDC says it is safe to fly on a plane), etc.
So what is it about a cruise ship that has the CDC still wanting to impose its draconian measures? I have corresponded directly with the CDC about this and the only thing…the ONLY thing…is its concern that if an infection happens the results could be troublesome ala the Princess fiasco. You know, the one were every governmental agency made numerous mistakes, including the CDC, that were found to have caused the spread of COVID-19, rather than prevent its spread? Yeah, that concern!
When I specifically inquired about the science and statistics behind its decisions the CDC has repeated refused to answer my inquiries…and the inquires of the cruise lines. This, obviously, leaves me with the question about whether the CDC is actually following the science and statistics when it comes to the relationship between COVID-19 and cruise ships because if it was I am confident there would be Transparency, Analysis, and Discussion. All three of those are absent.
And, of course, aside from finding literally ever other business operation safe to operate with constraints, the cruise lines are allegedly unsafe with the strictest constraints of any business (even hospitals!)
This brings us to the economic issues involved. There needs to be the same discussion as to restaurants as What is the cost to the travel industry? And I don’t mean just the cruise lines. I am talking about travel agents, airlines, hotels, restaurants, car companies, etc. Has the CDC engaged in this analysis? Absolutely not.
Everything that operates from farming corn to surgery in a hospital has, at some point, had cost-benefit analysis performed to determine if the cost of the operation both in dollar and risk to life is worth enduring for the benefit ultimately received. Heck you do it the same thing when you decide if your bathtub’s mat should be replaced or if that loose stairway railing should be replaced.
The way I see it is with all of the scientifically-based requirements that the cruise industry has put in place – which all but statistically eliminate the chance of an on-ship infection of COVID-19 happening, no less spreading, and then even less spreading to a significant population on a ship – the cost of tens of thousands of jobs to the affected individuals, the cost to the cruise lines, the cost the airlines, the cost to the related services, far outweighs the potential benefit of possibly avoiding one…or even a dozen…COVID – 19 infections.
Oh, yeah! One more thing: Do not forget that the possibility of death from COVID-19; especially now that it is better understood and knowing that those at the highest risk won’t be permitted to sail, is very small.
While you are visiting your neighbor (a risk) or sitting in a restaurant (a risk) or walking down the street (a risk) think about that!
It is, alas, time for a reality check. Science Matters. Statistics Matter. Cost-Benefit Matters.
What do you think? Give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!
US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232