An announcement this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that the ships pose a unique threat to amplifying coronavirus.
In a way, the announcement only confirms that which many people already knew: the confined quarters aboard ships likely help the spread of viruses. After all, long before the advent of coronavirus cruise ships were already the site of thousands of norovirus illnesses per year.
The CDC is particularly concerned that those who contract coronavirus aboard cruise ships could then spread the virus when they return home. USAToday.com reports that the CDC spent an estimated 38,000 person-hours on cruise ship-related research since March 14. During the study, the CDC discovered 99 cruise ship coronavirus outbreaks, 2,973 cases of coronavirus, and 34 deaths.
Cruise companies have been under a sailing ban since March and it is not entirely clear when they will be able to return to operations. An initial CDC no-sail order was set to expire on July 24 but was subsequently extended through September.