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Every time I read a headline on cruise ships over the past 15 months, the same thought crossed my tired brain: Surely this one will suffice? Are the cruises going to cool him down now? Because each time, the content of the following article reads pretty much the same: the cruise line decides it’s time to go; a coronavirus epidemic ensues. This has been the case since the early stages of the pandemic, when cruise ships became floating hotspots of viral spread from port to port. The conditions aboard these giant Petri dishes – often crowded; To close; largely communal – seems just too ripe for transmission of a highly contagious pathogen, and if you need more evidence to support this theory, then consider Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas. Who is she, you ask? A brand new ship that is currently resisting a wave of coronavirus infections, despite its hordes of passengers yet to descend.
Monday, USA today reported that five asymptomatic crew members disembarked in Mallorca, Spain, after four tested positive for COVID-19 and another returned inconclusive results. It is a small part of the crew of 1,400, but it is a part nonetheless. Royal Caribbean said in a statement that the five people were “immediately quarantined” and that testing would be ongoing throughout the ship’s journey to the United States. Once the ship arrives here, all of the crew who have not yet received their vaccines – a group that includes … most of the staff, for example. USA today, and the five people in quarantine – will receive their vaccines. A spokesperson told the outlet that the entire crew, every last person, will need to be fully vaccinated.
On the passenger side, Royal Caribbean Managing Director Richard Fain told the BBC that “we expect all of our vaccine-eligible customers to receive it.” But Fain doesn’t expect the cruise line to require people to document their vaccination status with a vaccination passport or something like that. “We’ve actually surveyed our customers and the vast majority of people who have booked our cruises have already been vaccinated, and they’re doing it on purpose, they want to,” he said. “And people want a place they can go where they know they’re safe.” According to the BBC, Royal Caribbean also carried 150,000 passengers on the high seas during the pandemic and only reported 21 cases of the coronavirus – a figure that strikes me as strangely low, but nonetheless.
As Jalopnik points out, the United States supplies almost half of all global cruise lines. Right now, just under 40% of Americans have received both vaccines, with daily vaccination rates dropping in recent weeks. While it is true that nationally the number of new cases has not been as low as it is now – less than 30,000 infections added every day – since last June, it is also true that when you remove the vaxxed population from the equation, the virus continues to rage among those who have not received a vaccine, “according to Washington analysis Poster. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with cruise lines to get them back into business, ca. In midsummer, he “recognizes that cruising cannot be a zero-risk activity for the spread of Covid-19”, even with the recommended 98 percent of the crew and 95 for percent of passengers vaccinated. Personally, I liked the agency’s previous “all people” [should] avoid ‘cruise ships, period, policy of a few months back. Maybe we stay true to that?