CDC reports nearly 1,400 Covid cases on U.S. cruise ships from July to October

A total of 1,359 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported on cruise ships that sailed from U.S. ports starting this summer, according to the latest information from the CDC.

The numbers, involving passengers and crew from sailings between June 26 and Oct. 21, were revealed as part of the CDC’s decision to extend the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) through Jan. 15.

According to the agency, 49 of those cases required hospitalization, and 38 called for medical evacuations. CLIA said “ballpark estimate” is that 600,000 passengers sailed from U.S. ports between June and October; that estimate does not include crew members.

Royal Caribbean reported during its third-quarter business update last week that since the end of June, it has carried half a million passengers, both from U.S. ports and abroad, and has had 150 Covid cases, a rate of 0.03%.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said during its third quarter update today that since its restart this summer, “the prevalence of cases we identified in preboarding testing, midcruise and at debarkation were inconsequential and well below what we all saw in the general population during this time.” The NCLH brands have a 100% vaccination policy for passengers and crew.

The CDC said that despite the cruise lines’ implementation of strict protocols to prevent the introduction of Covid-19, “ensuring passengers are uninfected at embarkation has proven difficult. There have been several instances of passengers’ being symptomatic on the day of embarkation and denying symptoms to the cruise line, or passengers’ being symptomatic for several days onboard the ship before reporting their symptoms to the medical center.”

The CDC noted that “high vaccination rates onboard these cruise ships likely explain why onboard medical center resources have not been overwhelmed.”

Conditional Sailing Order expires in January

Both Fain and Del Rio said the CDC’s decision to move to a voluntary program when the CSO expires in January was a positive indication that its protocols work.

“We are willing to go to great lengths to protect our guests and the communities we visit,” Del Rio said, adding that the CDC’s decision to make program voluntary starting Jan. 15 was “a positive step forward for our company and the industry at large, and we were encouraged to see positive recognition of the successful resumption of cruising and the lengths we’ve all taken to enhance our already stringent health and safety protocols in response to Covid-19, much more rigorous and comprehensive than those implemented by any other travel, leisure or hospitality sector.”

Source: Read Full Article