First off I wanted to let you know that the picture here has nothing to do with the Corona virus but I know you would rather look at something pretty than a technician in a lab coat.
Now, this Corona virus is all over the news and several of my clients have had concerns, mostly because there have been a couple of cruise ships affected and these have been all over the news as well, making the situation look like a MASSIVE PANDEMIC THAT WILL KILL US ALL!
So the question is: Should I cancel my vacation?
First of all let’s keep this in perspective.
The Corona virus is not wide spread despite what we are hearing. World wide there have only been approximately 73,000 cases over the entire planet. Compare that with the flu virus which, according to the CDC is expected to infect 26-36 million people and possibly to kill 14,000 to 36,000 this year.
To date only about 2,000 people have died from the Corona virus. And of the people infected, the death rate is very low.
Only around 15 people have been confirmed with the virus in the US thus far and they are under so much quarantine that we may never see them again. (Ok that was hyperbole to make a point.)
And yet for some reason, the virus has been upgraded to “epidemic” status by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Who (World Health Organization).
You can see more data on this virus and how it affects the travel industry in my Youtube video on the subject.
Because I am seeing so much hype on this, I researched what factors exactly determine when and whether something is upgraded to epidemic status. The determining factors I found incredibly vague and undefinable.
According to Slate.com, The CDC’s official definition of an epidemic is: “The occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time.”
Ok, What?!? What does that mean exactly? How does anyone know how many cases of anything are expected and in how much time when a virus first shows up? I don’t mean to be critical but shouldn’t there be some hard numbers or percentages attached to something that affects so many people?
There is sooo much hype on this particular virus and one wonders why. It appears that it is under good control due to the measures implemented by the Chinese when it broke out. Also the death rate is way lower than the flu which weighs in at about a 7% death rate of those affected every year.
That said, I received word recently that since the virus has been upgraded to epidemic status, a new set of circumstances with regard travel insurance enters the picture.
Yesterday I was in discussion with the people at Allianz which is one of the top carriers for travel insurance. I was told that because this virus has been upgraded to epidemic status, that literally NONE OF THEIR PLANS WILL COVER ANY PART OF IT. Apparently epidemics are specifically excluded from almost all insurance plans when dealing with travel.
I have clients who were worried because we have put together a complex trip for their entire family consisting of a cruise, land tours, transfers, hotels and the whole nine yards. They were super concerned that if enough clients cancelled their cruise, the cruise line would cancel the sailing leaving them stuck with flights, hotels and other non refundable costs.
So I called the cruise line and asked about these particular sets of circumstances. I was advised by the agent at Celebrity cruise lines that never in the history of their business have they ever had to cancel a sailing because not enough people were booked through.
It is my personal feeling that if people did cancel they would simply have a huge sale on the affected sailings and some lucky people would get magnificent deals on these cabins.
Again, let’s keep this in perspective. Although the cruise industry has been in the news a lot lately over this virus, there have only been two ships that I know of that have been affected.
There was one Royal Caribbean ship that worried that it had Corona onboard and turned out not to or that it had one depending on which hysterical news sources you listened to.
Then there was the Diamond Princess which continues to be in the news because the passengers were placed under quarantine after some cases were confirmed on the ship.
This was only ONE SHIP affected and yet the media has been having a field day, frothing at the mouth and creating fear and panic for anyone who was thinking of sailing.
Over 20,000,000 people cruise every year, most without ill effects.
So let’s look on the bright side.
NOW IS THE TIME TO GET MASSIVE DEALS ON CRUISES!
First off it is Wave Season, This is the time of year when the cruise ships all compete for your business and try to entice you into booking trips for the rest of the year.
With this added weirdness about cruise ships and this Corona virus, you can pretty much bank on the fact that there will be massive deals and promotions where you can benefit from your research and knowledge of what is really going on.
So if you are planning on cruising any time, CALL ME! Let’s dig up the best deals!