ATLANTA — There’s no such thing as social distancing on a cruise ship. Food often comes in the form of buffets, the casinos and pools are packed to the brim and most cabins could be confused for walk-in closets.
So, if someone on board comes down with a highly-contagious virus, it’s all too easy for it to spread – and spread quickly.
The Centers for Disease Control released a report detailing coronavirus outbreaks on ships that resulted in more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. According to the CDC, the vast majority of infections – more than 800 – happened aboard the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess.
That disturbing realization led the national health agency to first recommend against cruise travel to Asia – then urge Americans to avoid going on cruises altogether – until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
The CDC says COVID-19 was passed among crew members from ship to ship across “multiple voyages” and spread to hundreds of passengers. According to the CDC, close quarters on ships partially explains the “high attack rate” among passengers and crew, but it’s not the only factor.
Researchers found, before the ships were disinfected, COVID-19 survived on surfaces in cabins for up to 17 days after everyone disembarked.
Since the outbreaks, which killed at least 10 people, cruise companies have voluntarily suspended operations.
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