CDC investigating more than 85 cruise ships following COVID-19 outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating or monitoring 86 cruise ships after reports of COVID-19 outbreaks on board, as the omicron variant continues to spread in the U.S. and beyond.

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According to a list posted on its website Tuesday, the CDC is beginning an investigation of 38 ships, and has already investigated 48 vessels, all of which remain “under observation,” according to the agency’s update.

The ships being monitored include Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.

The CDC investigates a ship if there are one or more reported COVID-19 cases among the crew or if cases reported account for at least 0.10% of total passengers (or one person per thousand on the ship) in the past week.

According to the CDC, the agency works with the cruise ship to ensure medical resources on board aren’t overwhelmed, and to lower transmission rates.

The ships being watched are operating under “health and safety protocols that align with CDC’s standards for protecting passengers, crew, port personnel, and communities by mitigating the public health risks posed by COVID-19,” the agency said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, tweeted on Tuesday that cruises should stop operating. “Time for CDC & cruise lines to protect consumers & again pause—docking their ships,” he said.

The industry restarted cruises in June after suspending operations for more than a year as COVID-19 began to spread around the globe.