I’ve never understood the attraction of paying a premium price for a vacation that’s based upon voluntarily confining yourself to a floating Petri dish for a few weeks.
Many others see it differently.
But a few share my perspective.
Diamond Princess is a British-registered cruise ship owned and operated by Princess Cruises.
She began operation in March 2004 and primarily cruises in Asia during the northern hemisphere summer and Australia during the southern hemisphere summer.
There have been two notable outbreaks of infectious disease on the ship – an outbreak of gastroenteritis caused by norovirus in 2016 and an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in 2020.
In the latter incident, the ship was quarantined for nearly a month with her passengers on board, and her passengers and crew were subject to further quarantine after disembarking.
At least 696 out of the 3,711 passengers and crew were infected, and 7 died.
The meteorological convention is to define summer as comprising the months of June, July, and August in the northern hemisphere and the months of December, January, and February in the southern hemisphere.
On 13 January 2012, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground and overturned after striking an underwater rock off Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, resulting in 32 deaths.
The eight-year-old Costa Cruises vessel was on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea when she deviated from her planned route at the Isola del Giglio, sailed closer to the island, and struck a rock formation on the sea floor.
A six-hour rescue effort brought most of the passengers ashore.
And a few more came to understand my perspective when the Diamond Princess was “quarantined on 4 February 2020 in the Port of Yokohama”.
On 20 January 2020, an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong embarked in Yokohama, sailed one segment of the itinerary, and disembarked in Hong Kong on 25 January. He visited a local Hong Kong hospital, six days after leaving the ship, where he later tested positive for COVID-19 on 1 February.
On its next voyage, 4 February, the ship was in Japanese waters when 10 passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak.
The ship was quarantined on 4 February 2020 in the Port of Yokohama in Japan.
As of 1 March, all on board including the crew and the captain had disembarked.
In Hong Kong, which has a humid subtropical climate, the flu season runs from December to March, in the winter and early spring.
It’s not clear how many people usually die or are diagnosed with influenza during a Northern Hemisphere flu season cruise aboard the Diamond Princess.
As the dust begins to settle on the Princess Panic it’s possible to make a few observations.
As of 5 March 2020, at least 696 out of the 3,711 passengers and crew had tested positive for the virus. On 6 March, the death toll reached 7.
1) There have only been seven “coronavirus-related” deaths out of the 3,711 people who were aboard the Diamond Princess i.e. 0.19% of the total aboard or 0.32% of the 60+ age group.
Two passengers died on 20 February and a third on 23 February, all three Japanese citizens in their 80s. A fourth passenger, an elderly Japanese man, was reported on 25 February to have died. The fifth fatality, a British national in his 70s, died on 28 February. A 78-year-old Australian national, who was evacuated from the ship, died on 1 March in Australia, making him the sixth. A Hong Kong national from the ship died on 6 March, making him the seventh coronavirus-related death from the ship.
2) A remarkable 2,922 people tested negative for COVID-19 i.e. 78.74% tested negative.
3) Out of the 696 passengers that tested positive for COVID-19 there were 410 asymptomatic cases i.e. 58.91 % of the COVID-19 “cases” experienced no symptoms.
In medicine, a disease is considered asymptomatic if a patient is a carrier for a disease or infection but experiences no symptoms.
It’s possible some asymptomatic cases are false positives.
Many years ago Upton Sinclair observed:
It is difficult to get a man to understand something
When his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
An updated version for 2020 reads:
People panic when their pay depends upon panicking.
That probably explains why these people like counting asymptomatic “cases”.
But, as always:
If you like your Petri dish then you can keep your Petri dish.