Different experience going east versus going west due to the numerous time changes. That's not a reason not to do it, just something to be aware so don't base all transatlantics on an eastbound as the impact to your sleep cycle is different. Try one both ways to experience it yourself. Heading east they typically change the clocks mid-day versus at or after midnight heading west.
My Anthem east TA last year was cancelled due to the virus but I'd have no issues on Anthem, love the ship.
So, I’ve been anxiously waiting for this one year countdown to begin! We were supposed to be cruising star class last year, but then this wretched little bug started going around.......😡🤬🤬
As one who looks for silver linings, I will say that I got a better cabin (4 bedroom villa) at an even better price for this cruise than I had for the cancelled one! And there will be much more room for all of us (we went from 5 to 7 travelers since we had the extra bedrooms)! But I’m really hoping that roominess in no longer an issue and that the term social distancing is a very distant memory by then 🤣😂🤣😂
So, here’s to the countdown! May the days go fast and the ridiculously out of touch CDC go ....... well, I really don’t care where they go as long as they let cruising resume!
All viruses, including SARS2 have a definite pattern of rapid rise in new cases, rapid fall as PH authorities implement mitgation measures or people become more cautious, followed by another rise but usually the slope is flatter and the peak lower. These waves repeat until the pandemic ends as a result of the virus running out of people to infect or immunity is conferred through vaccination. Deaths always lag this predictable virus pattern.
So, what's going on in India is expected. What wasn't expected was the collapse of parts of India's health care system which resulted in horrific numbers of dead from COVID. The Modi government has also bungled the vaccine program, caveat that India has 1.4 B citizens but nonetheless not enough people were vaccinated to blunt the current wave as it has been blunted elsewhere where vaccine programs were well executed.
The Economist just published an article on the new UK Variant. The article was informative wrt to the question, are variants going to evade natural, conferred or immunized immunity.
You know my record here on COVID. I push back against the fear monkey narrative and in general, think the severity of mitigation measures from the start of the pandemic have not produced the desired PH benefits given the staggering economic and social costs. The world over-reacted and in a big, harmful and costly way. The CSO, IMO is a gross over-reaction to COVID transmission risks on cruise ships. JMO.
Having said that and noting my record of currently advocating for abandoning most mobility and behavior mitigation measures, I continued to have this nagging concern about the impact of variants on ending the pandemic. I dismissed these concerns of mine as it became obvious by mid-February that vaccines worked, including reducing transmission, against known variants at the time. Part of that dismissiveness was probably irrational because I have a bias. The actual science of trajectories of viral mutations is also complex and not easily reduced to one line news stories and explanations.
So, where are we these variants? In the news late this week was the emergence of B1.617.2 in the UK, thought to have come from India, possibly explaining the rapid increase in hospitalizations and deaths there. The UK and subsequently the WHO labeled it as variant of concern. Two areas of the UK were seeing increased case numbers involving B1.617.2. Boris warned if this variant takes hold (out competes the currently predominant variant there - B1.1.7), it could jeopardize his aggressive re-opening plans. On Monday, unless these orders get cancelled, pubs will be allowed to serve drinks and food inside. On June 15th, most COVID restrictions will be relaxed. These orders were based up the UK's remarkable success with their vaccination program that had reduced new cases by 90% and just about stopped COVID related hospitalizations and deaths.
If B1.617.2 takes hold in the UK and causes an increase in COVID hospitalizations and deaths, that's a big deal. Given the high % of UK citizens having been vaccinated it would mean those vaccines are not effective against this new variant. It's worth noting that the UK's testing and genomic sequencing capacity is the gold standard globally. We should be paying attention to what goes down wrt COVID in the UK.
An important qualifier here is that Boris Johnson pursued a unique vaccine roll out approach. He eschewed the recommended two dose regimen timing (extended the time frame for the second dose) and focused on getting the maximum number of Brits inoculated out of the gate. If it turns out that variants can evade the ABs produced in the one dose approach, that would suggest the recommended 2 dose regimen and the timing of the second dose is the regimen that should be followed.
What's actually "going down" there? The new variant has just recently appeared. It is only a small percentage of variant detections with B1.1.7 still predominant (95%/5%). OTH, new diagnosed cases caused by B1.617.2 are doubling every week. Importantly, the majority of new cases are being detected in young, mostly unvaccinated people. Hospitalizations and death rates, so far, are flat. Still, it's a valid concern and Boris has now recommended Brits over 60 to receive a second dose ASAP.
When you start reading about this variant in the news and the UK's experience with it in the coming days and weeks be mindful of the metrics that count. New case numbers rising due to this new UK variant presented out of context is, as usual, meaningless. What is meaningful is this: If the metrics that count (age v. illness v. hospitalizations and excess deaths due to COVID) rise, it means the vaccines, or at least the Boris Johnson regimen for administration of them can be evaded by mutations. If they remain flat, the natural selection process of SARS2 - it's capacity to mutate and survive - is not trending toward more deadly strains that might render the current vaccines ineffective in preventing illness and death..
We should know in a couple of weeks. As far as how the CDC views the requirement for the CSO wrt to the risk of variants spreading disease on cruise ships, we know they will take the most risk averse pathway. This must be understood in the context that the CDC sees cruise ships as residential congregate settings requiring a higher level of monitoring and mitigation. That's why restarurants, bars and casinos on land are viewed differently than those aboard a cruise ship. You can see this in the updated onboard masking policy. I'm pretty certain that the caution reflective in these is a valid concern about the interlocution of variants aboard a cruise ship - a residential congregate setting - and the potential for these to spread as passengers disembark and go home.