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Everything posted by mcloaked

  1. You might like to quote the figures in a month's time when the huge increase in positive cases feeds through to the delayed rise in hospital cases, and the subsequent rise in deaths. Yes it is true that today the number of severe cases is not that high - but of the large number of people who have been infected the past few weeks, it will take a couple of weeks for those among them to reach the stage where they require hospitalisation - that is what happened in the first wave, and although treatments today are much better than they were in March/April only a small fraction of people who get the severe pneumonia will avoid death even with current best treatment. If nothing is done and positive cases continue to rise then it is a matter of science, and not speculation that the result of pressure on hospital beds and death will follow - that is why the governments are taking action to change the rules on what people can and cannot do for the coming months - you may not believe it, but the science is there to see. Unless everyone does their own bit to prevent transmission of the virus then the outcome will be many more people suffering and dying than need be. Flu adds to the misery. Yes we all take it for granted that we personally won't die of flu - but as you can look up the figures not everybody who gets flu survives. If you are young, and fit, the chances are you will have a miserable couple of weeks, and then get back to normal life again, but if you have underlying medical conditions, or are on the older end of the demographic spectrum, that is not necessarily the path the flu will take if you are unlucky enough to be infected. So having the flu jab will not only reduce your own chances of getting flu, but also reduce the chance of others getting it - the more flu virus there is in circulation in society the more any one individual is likely to be infected - and the same applies to coronavirus - the difference is there is no vaccine yet for coronavirus so the only mechanism we as a society has to limit the number of people who become severely ill and/or die is to get everyone to follow the rules that the science indicates will limit transmission. Whether the outcome is a lot of suffering and death or less this winter will depend on what proportion of members of society have the view that their own personal choice and freedom to do as they wish as opposed to those members of society who are happy to do what they can to minimise the chance that they are personally responsible for onward spread of the virus. In some places that personal responsibility will be widespread, but in other places collections of people will say their own freedom of choice overrides any responsibility they have to others in society - we will see what takes place when we get to the spring of next year.
  2. On other consideration about covid and cruises - let's say there was a cruise where 1% of the 2000 passengers became ill and needed a hospital bed with a ventilator. That would be 20 passengers needing an ICU bed on the ship if the ship was at sea and with nowhere to dock. How many ICU beds does a typical ship have in its medical unit? It is a similar consideration for populations on land - how many countries have readily available ICU beds with a ventilator, that would still have capacity over and above the non-pandemic need for ventilator beds, as well as around 1% or more of the population becoming seriously ill with covid-19. That is the problem that countries around the world are grappling with, and trying to prevent the terrible situation that arose during the first wave in countries like Italy where doctors had to make the impossible decision about which of the patients who may be most likely to survive gets the ICU bed, and which patients should be allowed to die. Covid-19 is not a game, and not a disease anyone would have predicted or wanted, but those in charge of countries, and companies have to try to traverse the minefield of trying to protect life, as well as trying to protect the economy - and it is one of the toughest problems the world has had to deal with in a century.
  3. There is one factor that has become more relevant in recent weeks - studies have shown during the first wave of coronavirus that some of those who became ill with covid-19 were concurrently infected with flu. Statistics from the research showed that the risk of death for those people infected with covid-19, as well as flu at the same time, had a six times higher mortality rate. That is the reason behind the UK's big drive to try to have everyone over 50 get the flu vaccine this year. As we move into the second wave of coronavirus approaching the autumn, which is a time when the annual flu season begins to get under way, and more people spend time indoors as the weather gets colder, there is already an exponential rise in covid cases, and as case numbers rise, so hospital covid admissions will also rise in the next few weeks, and the death rate will follow suit in rising also. To help to limit the hospital admissions numbers, and the number of people who will die, it would be very helpful if as many people as possible do get their flu vaccine, before too long into the winter, and also keep distancing when in public, and do whatever every individual can to help limiting other people's exposure because none of us can know if we are infectious, unless we have a current positive swab test. Whatever people do and whatever governments do to help, there will be more deaths this year than in a non-pandemic year. It is easy to talk about statistics, but we should all remember that every death is a person, and someone's mother, father, brother, sister, child or best friend or other relative. The cruise line directors and managers of course want the cruise business to survive, and it probably will, and emerge stronger than ever once the pandemic is over, and clearly there are a lot of us who have been cruising for some years, and who can't wait to get back on the ships again before too long,. but in the meantime we all have to try to survive and not become one of the death statistics, even though in percentage terms the number of deaths in a month does not look like a large number - but a small fraction of a large population is a significant number of real people.
  4. Vaccines provide a 'herd immunity' - any one person is way less likely to be infected if a substantial proportion of the population is vaccinated, and this applies not just to covid-19 when a vaccine does become available. Hence the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine if given to most children means every child is less likely to catch it. Even if a coronavirus vaccine was only 50% effective, if most people were vaccinated then transmission would be significantly reduced, and the number of people with the virus at any one time would be also reduced substantially, and that leads to less people needing the limited number of hospital beds, and less people dying overall, and a lower cost to society as a whole. It would also mean significant reduction in the chance of a repeat of the terrible situation at the start of the pandemic where ships had hundreds of people infected with covid-19 and some pretty ill. It is possible to argue that although you have the right to choose whether or not you are vaccinated, you don't have any ethically justified reason to leave yourself open to being infected and then consequentially passing the virus on to another human being who then may be very sick or die as a result. So it is the responsibility to others that would be helped by being vaccinated if most of us do so, rather then accepting you might be ill with the disease.
  5. One useful tip is to get the pneumococcal jab - the jab protects against between 13 and 23 of the most common strains of chest infection. It is a once only jab and does not need boosters. Might be worth considering ahead of future cruises - not related to coronavirus vaccines currently being developed, but for the common chest infections, which might explain some of the Cunard coughs it could protect you.
  6. In the news today Cunard has considerably extended their operations pause: https://www.cunard.com/en-gb/contact-us/travel-health-advisories "As a result of the continuing impact of Covid-19, Cunard has further extended its pause in operations to sailings up to 25 March 2021 for Queen Elizabeth, 18 April 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and 16 May 2021 for Queen Victoria."
  7. I tried clicking once the page loaded and it did eventually play once it got past the initial 'ad' section that just spun for a while - anyway the gist was that Carnival was not planning to restart cruises from the USA at present due to the 'vibrant' level of covid19 there, and that the much lower level of virus in Europe meant that possibly the first cruises may restart from Italy later in the year, with short several day cruises to nowhere, starting and ending in an Italian port, and possibly stopping at only Italian ports. Experience gained from the first few cruises once this happens will inform them so that further planning can be done on the basis of what happens on the first few small cruises they operate. He said that Carnival was closely associated and negotiating with all the regulatory bodies governing the planning and authorisation of cruises, not only in the USA but across the globe, and that cruises would begin when they felt that the level of risk was reduced to below the level of risk that passengers would experience on land. But he also said that expecting there to be no cases of covid19 on board future cruises was unrealistic. He also said that as each day passes more is known about the virus, and that they are working very hard to bring in whatever measures are deemed necessary to reduce the level of risk on the ships to an acceptable level, which means, the usual distancing and hygiene measures that have been brought in on land, as well as not having self serve buffet restaurants. He also said that never again would there be a repeat of the situation that happened at the start of the pandemic with ships unable to get to port and large numbers of passengers and crew ill and having to remain on the ships. He also said that every cruise that they do in the future will already have in place negotiated ports to go to, with measures in place if any passenger were to become ill on board so isolating an ill passenger and getting him or her off the ship would already be in the negotiated plans with the port authorities where the ships are sailing. He could not yet give any dates for the end of the pause, and as soon as the regulatory authorities give the go ahead, and the ships are fully prepared and the crews trained with all necessary measures in place then they would announce a restart, but the time wasn't yet. Of course this is only a summary of a 20 minute interview - so to get the full info it is necessary to watch the interview.
  8. There is an interesting level headed interview with the Carnival CEO from 4 days ago about plans for resumption of cruises - the interview was in Miami and although centred on US cruise ops, there is some discussion of initial plans in Europe: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-08-17/carnival-ceo-on-aidi-cruises-returning-to-sea-video?fbclid=IwAR3tRYe6OOrl8YFauK2JFm4v-65Jx00hVFHgTmE3uPkMpjDKgvK5h_04YS8
  9. I guess that despite the very clear message that wandering off risks being infected in the wider community, and then leads to the possibility of one of those infected then infecting many once they got back on board particularly when pre-symptomatic then the response you have detailed from MSC seems totally reasonable. They clearly cannot afford to risk hundreds of people on the voyage being infected and a repeat of those awful virus infected voyages that happened at the start of the pandemic. The 'new normal' will have to be the way forward until and unless there is an effective vaccine - but many don't accept this reality. I can't wait to get back on board - but I have to curb my eagerness until the new operational methods have been established, and am crossing every finger I have that a vaccine will in principle be shown to be functional before the end of the year even if widespread availability is not until some time next year.
  10. Many companies unfortunately rely on Windows servers, as well as Windows desktops for staff - Windows is the most vulnerable operating system to cyber attack - if Carnival's companies were using Linux servers they would have been hugely less vulnerable. Sadly this has not been taken on board by a lot of companies and organisations. Those companies who invested in Linux systems and expertise are in a much better position than those who have not. Either way I do hope that Cunard is not the brand impacted in this event, but I suppose information will emerge in due course - and hopefully the significant number of Cunard customers have not had their personal data exposed to the possibility of further attack at a personal level. It does take time for companies to try to recover from cyber attack events - hopefully it won't be too long - but in some cases (eg the recent Blackbaud exposure) it can be a month or two before information is released - hopefully in this case it will be a lot sooner!
  11. It would normally be the case that the company would contact any customers whose data has been breached so that they are aware of the security implications. However that contact may not happen immediately.
  12. There is the direct SEC filing at https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/815097/000095014220002039/eh2001078_8k.htm and also the report at https://www.teiss.co.uk/carnival-corporation-ransomware-attack/
  13. They could and that might be more attractive to passengers than going places where there is a lot of uncertainty!
  14. Perhaps it makes sense to have the option to ask you to allow your vaccination record to be shared with the passport office, if the other alternative would be that you are not permitted to board unless the vaccination status can be confirmed? But yes the GDPR regs would still need to be satisfied. A bit like your travel insurance can lead to refused cover if you haven't shared any key relevant medical conditions with the insurer.
  15. We are also hoping next year will see a possible restart - though of course it isn't just what Cunard do with regard to keeping the ship safe as well as its occupants, both passengers and crew, but it also depends on what any potential port of call does with regard to letting the ships in at all, and also what the town/city there has in place for keeping people safe too - and that is not really under Cunard's control. But we live in hope!
  16. We are more than ready to sail as soon as we possibly can, but I would bet that Cunard will only set sail when the risks will be low enough to not lead to another repeat of what happened to several cruise ships at the start of the pandemic, and to the recent Hurtigruten cruise that was supposedly ready for post-covid voyages and made the news for all the wrong reasons. Yes if you are healthy, and don't have underlying comorbidity conditions known to exacerbate the severity of covid if infected, and are physically fit, and not overweight then you will be much less at risk of serious illness if you are unlucky enough to be infected. Let is hope that enough knowledge and drug/vaccine development lets the sars-cov-2 virus be controlled not just on the cruise ships but across the globe.. but it will take time.
  17. Currently there are about 7.8 billion people in the world. There have been around 20 million cases of covid19 as confirmed tested which is about a quarter of a percent of the world's population. As far as the official statistics go it seems that the number of covid deaths is approaching a million. (https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases), so the deaths overall are around one twentieth of the number of cases. Of course the number of cases and deaths is likely to somewhat higher than the official statistics. This is the number that has happened in mainly in the past half year even though there were some cases in the first few months before March. Whether or not that becomes several percent of the world's population after a couple of years depends so much on how people across the world react and behave, as well as whether effective treatments become available, and how soon a vaccine that does protect people for a reasonable period becomes widely available and accepted. So yes percentages are low - but the numbers are big and the impact on the activities of the people across the world is huge. For those whose loved ones have died the personal impact is not sensibly measurable. Let's hope this virus really is brought under control for all our sakes.
  18. We too are meticulous without being paranoid about catching something. Of course the risk is never zero - but equally having a nasty illness can really make a big difference to the enjoyment of a cruise. Even having a bad sore throat for 4 or 5 days in a two week cruise will make it not as much fun and pleasure. Having Norovirus means usually 'only' a day or two of being truly stateroom-bound and feeling extremely unwell. But having covid-19 could mean a lengthy hospital stay in a country well away from your usual expectation of healthcare level, as well as a long recovery of months, plus the anxiety of a large medical expenses bill even if it will eventually be covered on insurance with costs being reclaimed. It isn't at all clear that herd immunity will be there for covid-19 any time soon.
  19. Or even Ne'er-do-well.... not used too much as a word in recent times though.... but very descriptive!
  20. For most people that is certainly true - but it only takes one or two people out of two thousand to go to the trouble of making a false vaccination certificate, and it risks infecting everyone on the ship! After all the majority of people are law abiding citizens and considerate to others - but some small percentage are not!
  21. We already have the infrastructure to transfer electronic documents within the NHS and government. You can now login to your GP surgery, and order an electronic prescription, that is sent electronically to your chosen pharmacy and they then get the medications prepared for you to collect. It is no longer rocket science. Your GP can access your hospital medical records, and get the results of a blood test done at the hospital. The government has been able to write a test and trace app from scratch within a couple of months - so adding a small component to an already pre-existing central medical database and passport database as well as link it to an already existing check system by travel agents, can be done relatively quickly - it is just a matter of whether there is the political will to make the decision. It may be less well developed in some countries than others but it is certainly not impossible to implement a scheme like this if there is the will to do it.
  22. The difference is that it it now 50 years later and fraudulent documents are a much bigger problem now than they ever were in the 1970s.
  23. Sure, but in this case absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence of surface transmission - so it might be better to be safe than sorry - though of course people can decide not to take any precautions and hope for the best. The choice is entirely up to the individual. I guess the real test would be to have a community where everyone was meticulous in social distancing, wearing of masks, and personal hygiene, but then had a large buffet and let all the serving staff touch as much as they like, and all the customers touch the serving implements and even food like fruit, as well as no sanitisation of tables, chairs, door handles and or the cutlery, and see if the rate of covid infection goes higher than a similar eatery where nobody is permitted to touch things, and sanitisation of surfaces is meticulous. Then repeat this for several dozen restaurants or cruise ships. Would you be prepared to volunteer for the experiment where there is assumed no surface contamination problem? I wouldn't!
  24. Every time you check in for a cruise you go to the desk, and you hand in your e-ticket, along with your passport, and have your credit card ready - the check-in desk staff are trusted to scan your passport and ticket, and your passport is electronically compared with the database of known criminals and if no red flags come up, you let the check-in person photograph you so that your cruise card is linked to a digital image of your face, and that data is then put into the ship's computer so that you can be visually checked against the stored image every time you embark or disembark the ship, or indeed if you are doing your passport check on board during a transatlantic crossing on the way to Southampton! It might be possible, since this is a global issue to have governments require that the vaccination process is confirmed by the authority conducting the jab, to send electronic confirmation to the passport authority of the country concerned, and a suitable flag added to the passport database, so that when you check your passport in at embarkation, or even when checking in for a flight to get to the port of embarkation, that this will flag to the check in staff if you are clear to travel. Electronic national databases are quite common now - after all in the UK, your car has the insurance validity, MOT test validity, and registration validity all in the DVLA database and the police, and indeed the public, can check whether a particular vehicle has all three currently valid or not. It is not beyond the whit of man to require vaccination status to be a part of the passport check. It is just one additional flag on top of the other data that is checked at the embarkation terminal. Any modern advanced society could easily add this kind of data if it was deemed critical to getting travel moving again - and after all travel of all kinds has been massively impacted on a global scale. Of course the first step is to have a working approved and proven effective vaccine available to the majority of the population of all countries. Indeed also given that any vaccine would need a few weeks for the immune response to build up immunity, then the vaccine would have to have been given a couple of weeks before travel otherwise it would not protect the person fully. Of course paper documentation would be a necessary backup, but a lot of thought also needs to be put in to preventing fake documentation or fraudulent confirmation whether electronic or paper!
  25. That article is dated 10th July. This one is dated 16th July and includes more recent evidence of surface data for viral rna on surfaces, as well as some data on cruise ship outbreaks: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/sars-cov-2-orofecal-transmission/ It makes sense to take precautions given the numerous outbreaks that have occurred in quite a number of places where it was thought the incidence rate and level of transmission was under control. In order to keep the incidence level and spread as low as possible all available methods of reducing the likelihood of infection need to be done concurrently, and that includes not only social distancing, strict personal hygiene and wearing of masks, but also sanitisation of surfaces and good ventilation.
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