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Covid vs the flu

We've been following one of our friends on a current tour and she is telling us, a person is sick and has been throwing up on the bus. Which brings me to my point, if you test positive for covid you are off the tour but if you have the flu, you can stay on the tour? I understand these are strange times but I would be interested if Rick Steves has weighed in on this topic.

Posted by
6113 posts

If you had flu (as opposed to a cold), you wouldn’t want to continue on the tour as you would ache all over and would struggle to get out of bed.

Posted by
200 posts

You are correct, most people would but I've seen it, people continue on. I've seen people on 3 different tours that were very sick (assuming the flu). Only one stayed in his room and stayed out of activities. And all of them had to take the bus to the next city. Of course, masks were not fashionable then.

Posted by
4516 posts

I'm sure Rick's guides are well versed in how to handle folks who show up sick or get sick on tour. In fact, why not ask the mothership in Washington state for their policy?

Posted by
200 posts

Rick Steves has a clear policy on Covid. I've never seen any policy on sickness.

Posted by
318 posts

At the initial meeting of one of our tours a woman arrived with very obvious respiratory symptoms. By the end of the first full day she had to be hospitalized due to dehydration, pre Covid, and not Covid. Once released from the hospital she rejoined the group. By the end of the tour at least three fourths of the group was sick. I'm not sure what policy allows a tour leader to do. But it is too bad that as individuals we do not take the welfare of those around us as our personal responsibility.

Posted by
200 posts

We were on the Venice/Rome/Florence tour and a woman didn't show up for two days and her husband said, she had jet lag. When she got on the bus, it was obvious she was sick. By the end of the tour, almost everybody got sick.

Posted by
2452 posts

Steve - did the woman with “jet lag” have covid and pass it on to the rest of the group? The guide is supposed to get a person tested if they are not feeling well. We had a woman on our Sicily tour who wasn’t feeling well and the guide got her tested immediately. Luckily, she just had a bad migraine and tested negative for covid.

Posted by
138 posts

Curious as to when you were on the RFV or VFR trip. What was the woman sick with? Also curious as to wheather or not jet lag woukd make a person that ill. Having never traveled to Europe I sincerely do not know.

Posted by
200 posts

The sickness was stomach flu. I won't go into details but you couldn't leave your room for long.

Posted by
5021 posts

Exactly how is one to be tested for "stomach flu" ? Answer you can't. It is only diagnosed by symptoms. Nor is "stomach flu" a flu. It is gastroenteritis, which could be viral, bacterial, or amoebic. It is not transmitted by respiratory droplets. Unless someone vomits on you, it's fairly easy to avoid by simple hygiene measures which one should be practicing anyway. Anyone afflicted with GE is not going to be going on a walking tour or sitting on a bus for hours at a time, and once asymptomatic would not be contagious.

A true flu, which is a respiratory illness, is easily distinguished from COVID simply by testing. Any responsible person with a contagious respiratory illness of any kind should be self isolating in this day and age. Unfortunately it would appear that a number of people on the tours are not. But, without specific written policies that are available before the tour begins, the tour guide has little recourse other than to ask the member to isolate. And certainly this is nothing new- it has been going on for as long as touring has existed. At least now people have proper masks and know what hygiene measures they should be taking to protect both themselves and others.

What is Rick supposed to do- have a policy for every possible contagious disease that exists or might exist in the future?

Posted by
200 posts

Dear Jean,
I'm not trying to start a controversy here. Of course Rick Steves can't cover everything but what's the difference is one has covid, the flu or just a bad cold. If your vaccinated with boosters then there is not much difference. I agree with you, tell that person regardless of diagnosis to self isolate. But then what's the purpose of a covid test? Showing your vaccination status should be enough. If you start coughing and hacking during the tour and you test negative for covid, everything is ok right?

Posted by
567 posts

Steve, the difference is that Covid has the possibility of being much more severe compared to influenza or a cold. And as more time has passed, it has become evident that no one knows how severe of a version of Covid one might get so it is best to minimize the risk of transmission to others.

Colds and influenza don’t lead to serious conditions such as kidney failure or long term lung damage requiring a transplant. Covid has led to those outcomes for some.

I concur with the comments about ‘stomach flu’ or GE. I had GE on one trip and was confined to bed for a few days and couldn’t eat a proper meal for 10 days.

Posted by
200 posts

We are mostly agreeing. I guess the real question is where do we draw the line? Yes, there is a "possibility" of severe covid, that's not disputed. For that matter, any illness has a "possibility" of something more serious when you have a bus load of seniors. In the end, I think this is a liability question. Would someone sue based on catching a cold or flu, no. Might it happen with Covid, possible but not sure how you would prove it except to say, RS should have tested us.