Thursday, January 3, 2008

From the norovirus everywhere department

As a follow-up to the post the other day about approximately 80 cases of norovirus being reported on Queen Victoria's second sailing, the same newspapers that were so excited about that are now reporting that there is a waive of norovirus sweeping Britain that is the worst in five years. The articles say there are about 100,000 new cases per week, and the figure could double this month.

The Guardian's article says, "Outbreaks are common in hospitals, care homes, schools and nurseries, as well as on cruise ships." So if they recognize that, why their excitement about 80 cases being reported over a week on Queen Victoria?

The Times' article said, "It is estimated that a norovirus outbreak could cost the NHS around £100 million as operations are cancelled and staff call in sick. It could cost the economy a further £12 million a week in lost productivity." Since they aren't on cruise, there's no one from whom to demand "compensation."

And it appears the Duchess of Cornwall has absolutely nothing to do with this at all.

Note: Links are valid at the time of posting.

From the return to Paradise department:

The people of the Bahamas are excited about Norwegian Cruise Lines has returned for the winter season. The line and the government jointly announced an expanded series of calls a few weeks ago. The calls will replace some of the overall number of calls at Bahamian ports which has been eroding recently. The first of these additional calls was made when Norwegian Gem arrived at Great Stirrup Cay on Tuesday. The Nassau Guardian reported the return today.

The arrival was marred, however, by the police meeting the ship to investigate an unexplained death aboard (the Bahamas were the first port of call) of a crew member. The man was found dead in his cabin, but foul play is not suspected. The death is reported in the Nassau Guardian near the end of the series of incidents listed.

Note: Links are valid at the time of posting.

Monday, December 31, 2007

From the isn't this silly department

A bunch of newspapers are reporting that there have been about 80 cases of norovirus aboard Queen Victoria's second cruise.

As we've discussed in the past, that's silly enough. They don't report it when a number of people at a local school or manufacturing plant infect each other with cases of flu - or norovirus - so why do they do it when it's on a cruise ship, especially in this case where the percentages are so small? But that's another story.

In this case what's really silly is that some of newspapers - especially in the UK - seem to be trying to create a link in readers' minds to the "bad luck" that superstitiously goes along with the bottle not breaking on the first try when the the Duchess of Cornwall named the ship a couple of weeks ago. You can check examples in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, This is London (calling it "the curse of Camilla), and as far away as in Australia's The Age.

Much of their coverage of the ship's entry into service earlier this month centered on that bottle not breaking. Sure it's an interesting sidelight, but it's certainly not unique. It's not worthy of being the headline or the focus of the story, especially compared to the real story of the size of Carnival's investment in the British cruise industry and the number of additional berths Cunard will have.

Granted, the Duchess of Cornwall is not one of the more popular Royals in the UK, but three weeks ago she pushed a button and a piece of glass doesn't break on queue, and now trying to link that event to people getting norovirus this week is just silly. Every time a passenger has a bit of bad luck aboard the ship, such as losing in the casino, will these papers attribute that to the Duchess, too? Leave the woman alone.

Note: Links are valid at the time of posting.