Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Coronavirus Risks and Safety Concerns

Can a Gay Cruise Keep 5,500 People Safe Amid Covid?

Can a Gay Cruise Keep 5,500 People Safe Amid Covid?

Travel
Out of the 2,700 rooms sold, Mr. Campbell said only 35 have been canceled since Jan. 1.For guests who cannot travel because of government restrictions or lockdowns, Atlantis is showing more flexibility and issuing credits for future cruises, Mr. Campbell said. Because of the fast-changing circumstances of the pandemic, he said, the company is approaching cancellation requests on a case-by-case basis and trying to accommodate as many people as possible.“We are here to take care of people and we are doing our best,” he said. “But if someone comes to us and just says they want their money back, because they don’t feel comfortable going on the cruise, then we recommend that they take out ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance.”Updated Jan. 15, 2022, 11:10 a.m. ETSince restarting operati...

For Retail Workers, Omicron Disruptions Aren’t Just About Health

Business
Long checkout lines. Closed fitting rooms. Empty shelves. Shortened store hours.Plus the dread of contracting the coronavirus and yet another season of skirmishes with customers who refuse to wear masks.A weary retail work force is experiencing the fallout from the latest wave of the pandemic, with a rapidly spreading variant cutting into staffing.While data shows that people infected with the Omicron variant are far less likely to be hospitalized than those with the Delta variant, especially if they are vaccinated, many store workers are dealing with a new jump in illness and exposures, grappling with shifting guidelines around isolation and juggling child care. At the same time, retailers are generally not extending hazard pay as they did earlier in the pandemic and have been loath to ad...
Cruise Ships Are Still Sailing as Cases Rise and Criticism Mounts

Cruise Ships Are Still Sailing as Cases Rise and Criticism Mounts

Travel
On the fourth day of a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise, Jesse Suphan and other passengers onboard the Carnival Cruise Line’s Panorama were denied entry at the port of Puerto Vallarta, because of the number of onboard coronavirus cases. That was the first Mr. Suphan heard about the virus spreading on the ship.“The captain announced that five people had tested positive for Covid and were quarantining,” Mr. Suphan, a 39-year-old revenue cycle manager, recalled in a telephone interview. “But, then, talking to the crew, they told me there were between 100 and 150 crew members who also tested positive, but the captain didn’t mention that.”Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans to avoid travel on cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. The adv...
Air Filters and Outdoor Spaces: Office Costs Rise as Workers Return

Air Filters and Outdoor Spaces: Office Costs Rise as Workers Return

Business
Employers are paying attention to air quality as never before, said Nellie Brown, a health and safety specialist who provides training and technical assistance for New York State workplaces through Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.“If you don’t spend money on upgrading your ventilation, you might be spending it on sick people,” Ms. Brown said. She added that these upgrades could have helped reduce the spread of the seasonal flu in years past had they been in place.Upgrading HVAC systems can be expensive and add monthly costs. New equipment for a typical 100,000-square-foot office building in Chicago, for example, might cost up to $100,000 to install, Ms. Mueller said, and can add 5 to 10 percent to monthly bills. For offices in milder climates, just opening the...

Is It Safe to Travel? Can I Still See My Family on Christmas?

Travel
Is Omicron really going to ruin Christmas?Ever since Covid-19 cases began rising sharply, long-awaited plans to see friends and relatives have suddenly been called into question. We want to see one another — but should we?So far it appears as though Omicron won’t make a dent in holiday travel. AAA estimates that more than 109 million Americans will travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, a 34 percent increase from 2020.But Omicron appears to be the most contagious variant yet. Should we worry about visiting older relatives? Is flying considered safe? What about Christmas dinner?We asked three epidemiologists and a psychologist to help untangle these and other complicated questions, and offer tips on staying safe. Here is their guidance.Is plane travel OK?On Friday, Dr. A...

Several New York City Restaurants Close as Covid Cases Rise

LifeStyle
New York City diners have seen their social media feeds flooded in recent days with announcements from restaurant after restaurant that they were temporarily closing because staff members tested positive for Covid-19 or were exposed to the virus.“I feel like it happened in three days,” said Cat Alexander, who on Wednesday closed Pheasant, her restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, after an employee received a positive test result. She is waiting for her remaining 22 employees to test negative before reopening.At least a dozen restaurants and bars have temporarily closed this week, as the reported number of new Covid cases in New York City has risen to an average of 3,554 a day in New York City, an increase of 135 percent from the average two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database...

Broadway Is Canceling Shows Due to Positive Covid Tests

LifeStyle
“Canceling random performances can only hurt — it just puts the whole confidence that a performance will happen up in the air,” said Ted Chapin, a longtime industry leader and the former president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. “It would be nice if Covid could calm down, but it does seem as if during this time when people are not being as diligent as they should be, we may be in this longer than we would like.”But thus far, patrons still seem to be flocking to shows. The cancellations are still “a small number of performances relative to the whole,” said Victoria Bailey, executive director of the nonprofit Theater Development Fund, which runs the TKTS booth in Times Square. “We’re hyper-aware of it because within the industry we all have this underlying anxiety: ‘We need th...

On Cruise Ships, Omicron Puts Safety Protocols to the Test

Travel
With the rise of Delta and Omicron variants, and as the virus surges across the world, cruise lines have been adjusting their health and safety protocols, reinstating measures like mask mandates and requiring additional testing from passengers. Starting Jan. 13, Disney Cruise Line will require all children over the age of 5 to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to KnowCard 1 of 3Pfizer’s Covid pill. A study of Pfizer’s oral Covid treatment confirmed that it helps stave off severe disease, even from the Omicron variant, the company announced. Pfizer said the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent if given within three days of the onset of symptoms.Demand remains highDespite the new restrictions and risks posed...

Omicron Is a Dress Rehearsal for the Next Pandemic

Technology
Seek and you shall findIn any other context, it would have been unremarkable: On Sunday, Nov. 28, a San Francisco resident who had been feeling mildly ill took a Covid test. The next day, it came back positive.What set off alarm bells, however, was that the resident had recently returned from South Africa, where the newly discovered Omicron variant was widespread.The traveler’s test sample was flagged for priority genomic sequencing, which would reveal the precise genetic code of the virus that had infected the traveler — and whether it had Omicron’s telltale mutations.Dr. Chiu, the San Francisco microbiologist, was tapped to do the sequencing. By 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, just a few hours after Dr. Chiu first learned about the sample, it was hand-delivered to his lab, packed in dry ice....

How to Store Your Covid Vaccine Card or Test Results on Your Phone

Technology
The state of the digital Covid vaccine card — the bar code that we store on our phones and present to businesses and venues as proof of inoculation — is chaotic.While some states, like California and New York, accept digital records as proof of vaccination to allow entry into restaurants and other businesses, states like Alabama, Arkansas and Florida have banned their use. That means anyone who plans to travel in the United States this holiday season has to research the policies at the destination.Yet it’s indisputable that a digital card is far more convenient than a physical record. For many, the thought of misplacing a paper record may induce great anxiety, so it’s nice to have our inoculation data on devices that we carry everywhere. And companies like Apple and Google have come up wit...