Current News Special Report Dec. 27

More Caribbean Ships Have Covid Outbreaks

The Covid Omacron varient is causing a great deal of hysterics worldwide that seems completely out of proportion with its threat. Yes, it is much more contagious than previous versions and just as easily infects vaccinated people as unvaccinated, but all the evidence suggests that it is nowhere near as serious. Because it spreads so rapidly, often with no obvious symptoms, it is posing a new set of problems for cruise ships. While cruise ships have adopted procedures that have been incredibly effective in keeping previous covid variants off their cruises, Omicron is a completely new challenge.

What seems to be unfolding now is because it is so contagious and the infection progresses so rapidly, people that are vaccinated and test negative one day can become positive and pass the virus infection on in only two or three additional days.

In less than two weeks England had the number of Covid cases double with significant increase in deaths. South Africa, where Omicron was first reported, has seen their daily case rate drop by two-thirds in less than two weeks. Some experts are now suggesting that because Omicron is quickly becoming the dominant strain in most countries with a greatly reduced threat of serious symptoms or death we may be looking at the final month or two of this pandemic.

While Covid outbreaks on cruise ships make for good headlines the best thing we can do is look at the whole of the evidence and see that these last several incidents as proof that Covid at sea is manageable.

Covid cases hit a Carnival Cruise ship last week on a Caribbean cruise. The Carnival Freedom returned to Miami on Sunday after multiple people onboard tested positive for the coronavirus, most likely Omicron.

The ship departed Miami on Dec. 18 on an eight-night cruise when “a small number on board” were isolated because of a positive coronavirus test, the cruise line said. There was no information provided on how many guests and crew members were infected.

The cruise was fully vaccinated and all guests were also tested before the ship departed Miami. Carnaval said that “the apparent rapid spread of the Omicron variant may shape how some destination authorities, with limited medical resources may view even a small number of cases on cruise ships a threat.” Because of this the ship was forced to skip planned stops in Bonaire and Aruba and made an “alternative visit” to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. After this outbreak The Carnival Freedom departed on its following cruise from Miami on schedule.

Last week, the Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas also reported 55 fully vaccinated passengers and crew members that tested positive for Corona. No one was hospitalized, and all the discovered cases were either asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic. The ship returned to its home port in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sunday the 19th and set sail on its next cruise the same day. It was the second Royal Caribbean ship from Florida to report positive cases this month, after 48 people aboard the Symphony of the Seas tested positive for Covid-19 during a seven-night Caribbean cruise that departed from Miami.

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