On March 19, President Trump announced to the world that Carnival Cruise Line would be offering up their ships as makeshift hospitals as we deal with the mounting issues of the coronavirus pandemic. This news comes at a time when many are concerned that the U.S. hospital system will be unable to handle growing cases of the virus. The virus is known to grow at an exponential rate, and as hospitals are increasingly filled with those who are infected, it becomes increasingly important to separate those sick with coronavirus from those sick with other illnesses.
This is, essentially, where Carnival will be able to step in. While they are not equipped to deal with coronavirus cases specifically, they can use their expansive ships to help separate those with other illnesses. This will then lead to more room in hospitals for pressing COVID-19 cases. The separation of those with the virus from those without it is critical in stopping the spread; additionally, contracting the virus is an additional health concern for those already sick.
While Carnival ships are obviously not traditional hospitals, cruise ships already have the infrastructure to deal with medical issues. The company also asserts that “on board medical clinics can provide up to seven intensive care units.” The ships can also be transitioned into being far more medically-focused than normal: “if needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions,” said the company in a statement.
The effect that this could possibly have in alleviating concerns for hospitals could be major. Carnival itself is a large cruise line, but the Carnival Corporation also owns large brands in the industry such as Princess and Holland America. The combination of the sheer holding powers of all of the different brands could actually make quite the dent in the issue. Any bit of help is a good thing, of course.
The exact details of how this situation will work out are, currently, unclear. Trump said that the ships will “be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, different places.” Obviously, this statement is vague, but it seems that the ships will be focused on major cities that are being hit the hardest. There are also supposed to be US navy ships being used for the same purpose as these cruise ships.
As coronavirus continues to spread and become more and more of a threat to multiple nation’s well-beings and economies, it is becoming increasingly pressing for companies to pick up the slack of the government. While citizens can do very little to change laws, moves like Carnival’s are massively helpful and can potentially save many lives. Here’s hoping that more cruise companies join in and lend a helping hand! Plus, we’d be hard pressed to say that the cruise industry is handling a lot of trips right now, so why not use the ships for the greater good?