Concerned About Coronavirus?

March 6, 2020
Cruises
coronavirus

At Cruise Lady: Latter-day Adventures, our top priority is the safety of our guests. In this regard, we have been receiving many inquiries about COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, and have been monitoring the situation closely. We have not canceled any of our cruises or land tours, and do not anticipate doing so. However, since we have been receiving so many questions, we are sending out this message as a clarification.

“What is COVID-19, or the Coronavirus?”

Coronavirus (formally known as COVID-19) is part of a large group of viruses. A common cold, for example, can be a coronavirus. However, COVID-19 is a new kind of coronavirus, so it is sometimes called the “novel coronavirus.”

“How is it spread?”

According to the Center for Disease Control , coronaviruses are thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, such as through a cough or sneeze. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. The CDC also indicates that while it may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. So, the best way to avoid catching the virus is to avoid close contact (closer than 6 feet) with someone who is infected. Also, you should wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
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“What are the symptoms?”

On average, symptoms appear within 5-6 days after exposure. According to the World Health Organization , the most common symptoms include: fever (87.9% of the time) and a dry cough (67.7%). Less commonly, people may experience fatigue (38.1%), sputum production (33.4%), shortness of breath (18.6%), sore throat (13.9%), headache (13.6%), muscle or joint pain (14.8%), or chills (11.4%). In rare cases, people may experience nausea or vomiting (5.0%), nasal congestion (4.8%), diarrhea (3.7%), and hemoptysis (0.9%), and conjunctival congestion (0.8%). The report stated: “The proportion of truly asymptomatic infections is unclear but appears to be relatively rare and does not appear to be a major driver of transmission.”

“What is the mortality rate?”

Don't panic - coronavirusThe WHO also reported, “Most people infected with COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover. Approximately 80% of laboratory confirmed patients have had mild to moderate disease, which includes non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases.” While the death rate was higher in the early stages of the outbreak in China, as the standard of care has improved over the past few weeks, the death rate in China has now reduced to 0.7% for patients who started showing symptoms after February 1. Note that it is possible that since COVID-19 symptoms are so mild, many cases of infection may not be diagnosed and the death rate due to COVID-19 may be much smaller than currently thought.
To put this all in perspective, the current number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is 3,353 with only 340 deaths outside of China. By contrast, the CDC reports that between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from the seasonal flu each year. So far this year, in the United States alone, the CDC indicates that there have been between 18,000 to 46,000 deaths because of the flu. Ironically, while some people are concerned about traveling because of COVID-19, we have not heard of anyone scared to travel because of the flu.
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“Is it safe to travel?”

The CDC regularly issues three levels of Travel Health Notices when there is a some concern about traveling to particular locations: Level 1: take usual precautions. Level 2: take enhanced precautions. Level 3: avoid nonessential travel. At this time, the only countries that are listed at Level 3 due to COVID-19 are China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. There is a Level 2 warning in effect for Japan, and a Level 1 warning for Hong Kong. Otherwise, there are no Travel Health Notices related to COVID19. Of course, this only relates to immediate travel and will be lifted as the rate of infection declines in those areas. One thing is clear: COVID-19 is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality. You should not make determinations of your risk of catching COVID-19 based on race or country of origin .

“What about cruise ships?”

Encore 2019Some people have wondered about the safety of cruising due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in February on the Diamond Princess in Japan. It is reassuring to learn that cruise ships are taking precautions. In order to protect passengers, Cruise Line International Association has amended its Public Health Policy to include the denial of boarding for individuals who have traveled through certain areas of Italy. Also, no one is to be allowed on a ship if they have traveled through airports in South Korea, Iran, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), and any municipality in Italy subject to quarantine measures by the Italian Government within 14 days prior to embarkation. Also, no one will be allowed to board who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19. Anyone manifesting symptoms of suspected COVID-19 is to be subjected to enhanced screening in order to prevent the spread of the virus on any cruise ship.

“Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?”

familyWe always recommend purchasing travel insurance for travel abroad and for many domestic tours. Travel insurance can cover expenses due to trip cancellation and interruption, medical expense and evacuation, lost or delayed baggage and more. Some, but not all, of these benefits, may apply in the case of complications related to COVID-19. For example, most of our travel insurance plans do provide coverage if you are quarantined and prevented from traveling or continuing your trip. Most plans also provide protection for cancelation when a person gets sick, provided that the insurance policy was purchased prior to contracting the illness. If you were to contract COVID-19 during the trip, most plans, which include a Medical Expense benefit, will provide coverage for certain medical expenses such as hospital costs, doctor visits and prescription medication. However, while the Trip Cancellation benefit provides coverage for things such as illness or injury, weather conditions, and traffic accidents, there is no coverage for fear of traveling to a specific destination, even for fear of illness. Of course, if you purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage, you will be able to, as the name states, cancel for any reason. In any event, the policy language should be consulted for more detailed information.

Conclusion

At Cruise Lady: Latter-day Adventures, we are committed to helping our guests to have a safe, fun and spiritually enriching experience on any of our trips around the world. If you have booked a trip with us, we will continue to keep you advised if our plans change and as the news regarding COVID-19 develops. If you have not booked with us recently, we will be excited to hear from you soon!

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