I know I have seen statistics on the percentage of Covid cases among recent RS tour groups, but now I don't remember where I found it. Can anyone direct me to it? Thanks!
From the main Rick Steve's landing page, select Our Tours from the left hand menu. Then scroll down to "On The Road" weekly tour updates. You'll see it there.
Not trying to start an argument, or question peoples honesty...
But keep in mind statistics likely only include those that presented a negative test at the start of the tour, or voluntarily removed themselves from the tour after reporting a positive result, as is encouraged.
There is no mandatory testing during the tour, so it is an honor system to test, and report a positive test. If someone was asymptomatic and chose not to test, then no report. Those testing positive at the end, or after the tour are also not included most likely.
Good that they are keeping track, just do not adopt a sense of false security.
Paul offers some interesting thoughts about the statistics.
In the past 10 weeks the average infection rate, according to the trip reports, has been 3.1%. There seems to be an upward trend and the last week's report is 4.7%. This 10-week average of 3.1% reflects the odds of becoming infected in one week. However, since many RS tours are two weeks, it stands to reason that the average probability of infection for a two-week trip is twice that or 6.2%, two tosses of the dice as it were. Also, if that latest report were to become the norm, then the chances over two weeks would be 9.4%.
Another consideration is that 6.2% is the recent average probability of just one person testing positive over two weeks. It does not take into account the effect on and losses of one or more travel companions of those who are actually infected.
Those testing positive are removed from the tour. If you are traveling with your spouse or other close companion, you will also leave the tour, which doubles the loss of tour participants. In my group, 6 of 28 travelers were found to be positive (well into the trip, not at the outset). Two spouse left with their husbands and one ultimately became positive, so actually 8 persons, or 28%, dropped out.
Therefore, for touring couples, the average loss of participants could be twice the 6.2% solo average or 12.4%, a not insignificant chance of illness. Of course, for those who take more than one RS trip on a journey to Europe, the risks would be multiplied by the number of trips.
It is very commendable that those who are infected while in the care of the company are reimbursed for the portion of the tour they missed as a result. As one of those 6 who were positive on my tour, I was kindly told that I would receive a proportional refund. However, while I was still in isolation and testing positive, I asked Rick Steves representatives to cancel the second, subsequent tour I had reserved this season because it would be unwise, if not downright deadly, to become exposed again, and so soon. Disappointingly, the RS representative refused to refund my payment for that upcoming tour. That several thousand dollars appears to be the cost to the traveler alone of avoiding those noteworthy risks of severe illness.
@ tumlintr. An interesting and quite creative interpretation of statistics and probability. Not sure that I agree with all of your premises and reasonings, but I can see you put a great deal of thought into it.
As far as your refund goes for the cancelled tour that you did not want to take, If you double check the tour conditions agreement it has the following information. "Documented illness due to coronavirus and/or COVID-19 may be considered a Creditable Event. However, fear of infection or concern regarding prevalence of the virus in the tour location(s) will not be considered a Creditable Event. "
I am guessing that your cancellation of the second tour(I'm not sure how far after the first tour it was) was considered to fall under the category "fear of infection or concern regarding prevalence of the virus in tour locations" You might consider a respectful request for them to reconsider to see if they could consider this request as more of a result of you getting a documented illness due to coronavirus. The timing probably makes a big difference in the interpretation of this.
At any rate, I'm sorry that your trip was disrupted like this and hope you are feeling well again.
A couple of things. We were told that RS has no obligation to report people as contracting Covid while on tour after the day the tour ends. So my husband testing positive a couple days after the end of the tour is not in those statistics. Considering we have been told by medical professionals that it usually takes 3-5 days after exposure to show a positive test, it would be my opinion that trying to get correct numbers for people contracting Covid while on tour from the information given is, basically, not going to be correct. Also, we subsequently cancelled our next tour that was to start 4 months later, not wanting to take the chance with Covid again and RS was very amenable to transfer our deposit to next year.