With just 11 days until the CDC’s COVID-19 rules for cruise ships expire, the agency says the outbreak has reached all ships in the operating U.S. cruise fleet.
97 of the 110 cruise ships tracked by the agency have reported cases of COVID-19 on board in the past week, including every ship listed in a passenger transport travel status, according to the latest figures released on the agency website January 4.
The CDC does not categorize infection events by size, and all recently reported U.S. cruise epidemics have affected about one percent or less of the total workforce on board. The overwhelming majority of passengers and crew are fully vaccinated before boarding, and most of those who test positive have no symptoms or mild symptoms, according to early industry reports.
The 13 ships that have not recently reported any COVID cases are all in ‘crewed only’ travel status, including Horizon Carnival; Carnival Paradise; Carnival sensation; Ovation of the seas; Vision of the seas; Celebrity eclipse; Celebrity Solstice; Noordam; crown princess; Norwegian sun; Regatta; Navigator of the Seven Seas; and Muse of money.
Last week, the CDC advised the public to avoid cruise ships due to the emergence of the highly contagious variant of omicron, which has been shown to be resistant to immunity in both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. . “The virus that causes COVID-19 is easily spread between nearby people on ships, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a dose. COVID-19 vaccine booster, “the CDC warned in a notice.
A handful of cruise ships have altered their itineraries due to disruption caused by COVID on board, but most of the US-based industry continues to operate largely as before under the order’s rules. CDC conditional navigation (CSO). This order has been extended until Jan. 15, but it will expire shortly – along with testing and reporting requirements on board the CDC – unless renewed.
So far, evidence suggests that omicron is more infectious but less harmful than previous variants. It spreads quickly on land, but it does not lead to significantly higher hospitalization rates (except in children). At the current rate of spread, it could peak in some states – including the main US cruise state, Florida – before the end of the month, epidemiologists say.
The shoreline pattern appears to be reflected in the experiences of cruise lines with omicron so far. At the end of last month, Royal Caribbean reported that it had had 41 hospitalizations for COVID since it restarted operations in June, and none of them have been cases of omicron, despite a recent increase in number of positive test results. “Our number of cases has increased, but the severity level is significantly lighter. We will remain nimble and in constant contact with health authorities,” said group chief medical officer Dr Calvin Johnson.
Top image: Cruise ships in PortMiami, 2016 (Corey Seeman / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)