US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort

Outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise lines like the Diamond Princess raise questions about how hospital ships will be any better at containing the novel coronavirus.
Two hospital ships are set to dock in New York and Los Angeles as US caseloads surge.
Mechanical engineer, Qinyang Chen, said that the ventilation systems onboard hospital ships make them equipped to contain the virus better than commercial cruise liners.
President Trump suggested that decommissioned cruise lines could be an additional asset if hospital ships aren’t enough, which may be a viable option if ventilation issues are addressed, said Chen.
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Luxury cruise ships like Carnival Corporation’s Diamond Princess have proven fertile ground for the spread of COVID-19. In contrast, two naval hospital ships —if operated with certain precautions — should safely halt transmission, says Qinyang Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

The 1,000-bed floating hospitals are set to dock in New York and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. Chen told Business Insider that the two ships’ air circulation systems are equipped to trap and eliminate virus particles, which didn’t happen on the Diamond Princess.

What went wrong on the Diamond Princess

Chen says researchers can’t prove how more than 700 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess came down with COVID-19. The virus could have spread through handshakes or coughs — even through tiny drops of toilet water spewed into the air when someone flushes. But after a quarantine confined most passengers to their rooms, how did the virus keep finding new victims? Chen suspects the air conditioning system.

Cruise ship cabins are vented with a mix of safe outdoor air and questionable indoor air. “You do get the fresh air from the sea,” says Chen. That ocean breeze should be free of the coronavirus. But “part …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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