"Cumulative CDC data from the period of March 1 to July 10, 2020 reveal a total of 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths," the CDC wrote in the extension order.
"These data have also revealed a total of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships, meaning that 80% of ships within U.S. jurisdiction were affected by COVID-19 during this time frame. In addition, nine ships still have ongoing or resolving COVID-19 outbreaks onboard."
The CDC noted it supports CLIA's decision to voluntarily suspend operations through mid-SEP, but seeing as not all cruise ship operators are members of CLIA, the CDC’s order ensures that passenger operations do not resume prematurely among other lines.
In extending the no-sail order, the CDC also noted that "current scientific evidence suggests cruise ships pose a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission than other settings."
The CDC cited a recent article published in the Journal of Travel Medicine by Rocklöv et al demonstrating that Diamond Princess experienced a basic reproduction rate (R0) for COVID-19 of 14.8 before ship-wide quarantine was enacted. This means that each case transmitted COVID-19 to approximately 15 other people, a reproduction rate approximately four times higher than the 3.7 R0 of the original epicentre of the outbreak in Wuhan, China.
The CDC order further stated the federal agency spent some 38,000 hours managing the outbreaks on ships because crew members were not required to observer social distancing measures or other safety protocols that would have prevented virus spread.
Public health authorities had to do contact tracing for more than 11,000 passengers, more than the number of contacts identified from airplane flights since the beginning of the pandemic, the agency said.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.