Cruise ships can be breeding grounds for infection, so it might not come as a surprise that passengers of a Diamond Princess cruise ship have begun to test positive for COVID-19.
Over the past month, there have been nearly 800 cases of positive COVID-19 patients from just three separate cruise trips. Investigators who are now examining the ships have found that there is positive COVID-19 bacteria living on the ships even though they have been vacant for two weeks.
On the Diamond Princess cases, the CDC released the following statement:
“Cruise ships are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases because of their closed environment, contact between travelers from many countries, and crew transfers between ships. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted”.
With this instance in particular, there were a very large number of asymptomatic carriers who facilitated the rapid spread of the virus that ended up being lethal for others.
Main culprits are said Diamond Princess ship as well as a Grand Princess ship that was traveling from San Francisco to Mexico. There were 19 positive cases aboard that ship.
The Cruise Lines International Association has suspended all cruise ship voyages for the time being.
As cruise ships facilitate close living quarters and international travel, they are rendered unsafe until the spread of virus is under control and social distancing and self isolation guidelines are lifted.
Business Insider has raised the question as to if hospital ships are even safe given the quick spread we’ve observed on cruise ships. There are questions as to how the two hospital ships carrying medical supplies set to dock in New York and Los Angeles are to practice better sanitation processes.
Trump has offered that cruise ships that are now docked could be repurposed to transport medical supplies internationally, but that is temporarily in question as experts and health officials reconsider how to keep these ships sterile and virus free.