If you would like to find out how many people are infected by COVID-19, good luck!
As the cruise industry returns to U.S.-based ports, government agencies and cruise lines aren’t making this data public. Critics want more transparency. They believe that cruise passengers and other community members should know the success of cruise lines in preventing the spread of the virus.
According to Saturday’s CDC website, 27 ships currently operating or to be operating in U.S. waterways have reported COVID-19 infection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is since cruising resumed this year.
14 of the 27 ships are currently sailing with passengers. Ten of the ships have not yet been re-entered passenger service, while three are only operating with crew members. Three have only done simulated or test cruises as required by CDC for ships that intend to sail with more then 5% unvaccinated passengers.
The CDC has monitored forty ships and found no evidence of infection. However, the CDC does not publish the number of infections that were discovered on the other ships.
The Tourism Board of Belize confirmed 27 cases on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, Carnival Vista. It was due to return to Galveston this weekend. The Central American nation released a statement on Wednesday stating that 26 of the infected crew members were infected and one was a passenger.
According to Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime attorney, most of the infected crew members interact with passengers at the ship’s casinos and restaurants, as well as the entertainment and beverage departments.
Carnival Cruise Line, which is based in Miami, stated that there were “a few” cases aboard before the Belize news release.
Carnival responded to the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s request for infection counts from Carnival’s summer voyages by saying “we aren’t reporting specific numbers.”
Officials from Carnival Corp. brands Princess Cruises, Holland America and Carnival Corp. declined to give numbers for the positive cases on their ships. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line didn’t respond to the Sun Sentinel’s requests. Royal Caribbean also said that it would send numbers, but needed to verify them first.
MSC Cruises’ spokeswoman in Fort Lauderdale confirmed two infections aboard MSC Meravigila (the company’s sole ship currently sailing from PortMiami).
Cruise lines report that thousands of passengers and crew members have enjoyed sailing on cruise ships since the industry reopened this summer.
Infections are not treated with the same level of concern as when COVID-19 was discovered in the early 2020s. This is due to the fact that the cruise lines have developed extensive safety and health protocols, in collaboration with the CDC, which has reduced the virus’s spread onboard.
Cruise lines were required to demonstrate that they have followed the appropriate safety protocols and have vaccinated passengers and crew members in order to be allowed to resume operation.
Despite Florida Gov. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned “vaccine passport” and cruise lines in Florida achieved 95% passenger vaccination rates. They asked guests for their status and dissuaded bookings from unvaccinated passengers.
People who have been vaccinated are less likely than others to get the virus. If they do, they will experience fewer severe symptoms.
The highly contagious delta strain has now become the predominant strain. This means that vaccinated individuals are more likely to get “breakthrough” infections. The delta variant is easily spreadable and more contagious than previous variants, even among those who have been vaccinated. A growing number of people who have been vaccinated are experiencing symptoms. However, they are not as severe or as affected as those who have not.