Aloha Anthony: Thanks for the fine work you do editing Maui Time Weekly. Each week I look forward to the newest issue.
Your Coconut Wireless column discussed the norovirus outbreaks
aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 and provided statistics on the total
number of sick passengers for 2005 and 2006 (Feb. 1, 2007).
While you start out correctly relating the number of sick passengers
to the total number of outbreaks on the QE2, 276 out of 1,652, you fail
to relate the overall number of sick passengers in 2005 and 2006 to the
total number of folks who went on cruises. This is significant as the
cruise industry grows about 10 percent or 500,000 passengers per year.
In order to understand the increased danger for a norovirus
outbreak, we have to examine the raw numbers you provided as a subset
of the total number of passengers.
For 2005, there were 11.2 million passengers of which 4016 became
ill. This represents 0.004 percent of the total number of passengers.
For 2006, there were 11.7 million passengers of which 6,502 became ill.
This represents 0.006 percent of the total number of passengers.
We can then conclude that the increase in outbreaks between 2005 and
2006 relative to the total number of passengers is two thousandth of a
percent. Not nearly as dramatic as 59 percent, but a more accurate
reflection of the actual concern that should accompany such a
If you have a moment you may enjoy reading Barry Glasner’s book The
Culture Of Fear. It relates quite well to the convoluted point I am
trying to illustrate.
Keep doing what you do.
ANTHONY PIGNATARO ATTEMPTS TO DEFEND HIS SENSATIONALISM: I
think it was Winston Churchill—no, Henry Cabot Lodge… I think—anyway,
some old wise man who’s been dead a long time who said it best:
“Numbers, schmumbers.” Seriously, though, assuming your 11.7 million
passenger figure is correct (it is, at this point, still an estimate),
you are of course correct about the actual number of sick passengers
being statistically miniscule, though I stand by my logic that it’s
worth worrying about the fact that the number of outbreaks—i.e.,
infected ships—is rising, especially given that the federally funded
Centers for Disease Control are supposedly conducting more onboard ship
inspections than ever.
Being full-time residents of Honolua Valley, we are very troubled by
the plans Maui Land and Pineapple Company has for our beautiful
countryside (The Maui 10, Feb. 1, 2007). We are afraid that the natural
beauty and unique charm of this area will be lost forevermore to their
developments. The plan claims to benefit the community but which
community? Will it be for the community as a whole or for their
“private gated” communities?
Together, we can make sure the right thing is done by getting
involved with the planning process. Voice your questions and concerns
to the proper officials. Especially, attend the upcoming meetings with
the confidence that we will make a difference! HELP REPRESENT!!!!!!!
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