Florida: Cruises investigated for more COVID-19 cases

MIAMI (AP) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigates more cruise ships due to new cases of COVID-19 as the omicron variant of the coronavirus causes extremely high levels in Florida, the center of the industry.

The CDC said 88 vessels are being investigated or observed, but did not specify how many COVID-19 cases have been reported. Four vessels are also being monitored by the CDC.

Florida hit a daily case record Tuesday with 46,900. Since Christmas, the seven-day average of cases per day has broken records even in the summer, when it reached 29,400 infections.

Hospitalizations for the coronavirus in the state have also risen from about 1,200 patients two weeks ago to about 3,400 on Wednesday. But it is still a fifth of the number of hospitalizations reported at the end of August due to the delta variant.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal asked the CDC and cruise lines to re-suspend cruises, six months after the industry launched its comeback.

“Our warnings have proven to be sadly prophetic and continually compelling. The time has come for the CDC and the cruise lines to protect customers, take a break again, dock their ships, ”the Connecticut senator tweeted.

Cruise lines have not announced plans to suspend travel.

So far, none of the vessels appeared to have so many cases as to overwhelm the medical resources on board and require a return to port. But some have been denied entry into some foreign ports.

Several Florida-based vessels have reported outbreaks. Carnival Freedom was denied entry to Aruba and Bonaire after an undisclosed number of passengers and crew on board became infected with the virus.

Some cruise ships have been unable to disembark at ports in Mexico due to the number of reported cases, which is reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic when cruise lines negotiated docking plans as the vessels were returned by officials concerned about the spread of the virus. .


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