France has declared an epidemic of seasonal flu as thousands fall sick. Twenty-six people have died since the outbreak began.
Coronavirus might be hogging the headlines at present, but in France normal seasonal flu is proving far more deadly.
Seems that ordinary seasonal flu is worse than coronavirus.
Death rates are the number of deaths per one thousand people per year. The current French death rate is 9.365 deaths per 1000 people per year, The population of France is 67 million. So about 627,455 people die in France every year, or 1,719 per day. An extra 26 deaths should be barely noticeable. But nevertheless, France has declared an epidemic.
Maybe the same thing is happening in China? Maybe the new coronavirus is really no worse than ordinary seasonal flu? The common cold is a coronavirus.
I spent a while yesterday studying the Diamond Princess cruise liner, currently quarantined in Yokohama with about 4,000 passengers and crew aboard, confined to their cabins. It seemed like a perfect microcosm of the coronavirus epidemic, set apart from all the other outbreaks, and isolated from them. At the end of the day they’ll know exactly how many people got infected, and exactly how many people died.
If the normal death rate aboard the Diamond Princess is the same as France, then about 37 people die aboard it every year. One every ten days. Since the ship seems to go on week-long cruises, chances are that one passenger will die on each cruise. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the ship has its own mortuary.
Initially there were 10 reported cases of coronavirus aboard it. This has now gone up to 20. There are no reported deaths, to the best of my knowledge. But since it seems to be about a week since the first case was found, we should expect there to have been one death.
I came across an article: 12 Things Not to Do in Your Cruise Room
Sorry, smokers, but on most cruise ships, you need to take a hike to get your morning nicotine fix. All cruise lines have banned smoking in cabins, and many have even banned smoking on private balconies. Cigarettes are a fire hazard — ships have caught fire due to wayward ash — and many people also consider them a public nuisance. Understandably, the cruise lines want to limit cigarette use onboard, while still offering smokers a few places to light up. So you’ll need to head to a designated area of an upper deck or specific lounge when you need a smoke break. (If you’re not sure of your ship’s policy, you should read up on Cruise Line Smoking Policies.)
Yet it seems that smoking in cabins was not banned on the Diamond Princess. However, now that the passengers have been confined to their cabins, they have also been banned from smoking.
“We’ve got friends on board who are really struggling though, because they’re smokers.
“The captain announced everyone was banned from smoking in cabins and on balconies, and our friends are tearing their hair out!”
Why has the captain banned everyone from smoking? Yesterday I found that cruise ships have very powerful ventilation systems. One ship had 88 air handling units scattered over it, with a maximum capacity of 1.5 million cubic metres of fresh air per hour. It seems that each cabin has its own separate air supply, so one cabin’s air doesn’t get into other cabins. And this is why passengers have been confined to their cabins: it minimises the risk of infection spreading between cabins. The entire ship is pressurised, so that if you open both a cabin’s front door and its balcony door, you get half a hurricane blowing through. It’s my guess that the air is extracted out of the ship’s rear smokestacks, along with engine exhaust. So when the ship is under way, doing 22 knots, it will be drawing in fresh air on its forward top deck, and expelling it out of the back,
However, the Diamond Princess isn’t moving right now, so there’s an increased chance that exhaust air can mix with intake air. And with most of its restaurants and bars empty, the ship’s ventilation rate has probably been reduced, and perhaps even the cabin ventilation rates have been reduced as well, and that’s why smoking has been banned. Same reason as it’s banned on airline flights.
Anyway, it seems that the WHO isn’t letting any flu epidemic take its eye off the ball. Via Brigitte 4 Feb 2020:
WHO highlights a wide range of proven interventions to prevent new cancer cases. These include controlling tobacco use (responsible for 25% of cancer deaths),