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CDC denies cruise sector's request to lift US sailing restrictions


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1 hour ago, mnocket said:

Hmmm   is this a "science based" requirement?  If so, what's the underlying science and why wouldn't it also apply to airport terminals?

 

Serious  answer?

 

First of all, I'm not sure we're interpreting that statement the way the writers intended. There are ways to accomplish what I assume the intent is without closing down the gangway for 12 hours, most obviously closing the gangway for some period of cleaning and disinfecting, potentially including some form of aerosol with a wait period. I assume the intent is primarily to reduce the risk of departing passengers infecting arriving passengers, and secondarily for arriving passengers to infect departing passengers. That would further reduce the risk of passengers either becoming test positive or developing actual disease on the cruise. In every terminal I've been through in the US, the only potential mingling of passengers would be outside waiting for a cab while incoming passengers drop of luggage, which again can be addressed through process controls (no one in until everyone's out). If the CEO's and public affairs folks stay out if it, the cruise line's technical people who deal with things like the Vessel Sanitation Program will request clarification and work out any remaining details.

 

Why wouldn't it apply at an airport terminal? Incubation period. Even if you flew from Seattle to Beijing, or Houston to Sydney, if you were exposed in the terminal, you're not going to have enough time to become infectious before landing (maybe if you're in the 99th percentile for short incubation periods), so you're not going to transmit on the flight. (Theoretical risk of arriving for the flight immediately before becoming contagious and becoming contagious on the flight, but I'd probably lump that into the same probability as being struck by lightning twice.) And between vaccination and testing, you've got about as robust a method as possible to mitigate as much of that risk as possible.

 

If they really do mean clear the area for 12 hours as a primary or unique control method, I don't know why. And it would be a valid question.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, mnocket said:

Please explain the science behind the differences between a cruise terminal and an air terminal - since that's what we are talking about here, not "air travel and cruise ship travel" (as you claim I don't understand). 

 

That would surely be helpful as I truly don't understand your post and how "life isn't fair, get over it" pertains to the differences between cruise terminals and air terminals.

There are some health and safety measures that can be taken with relative ease, and others that are far more difficult, possibly impossible. 

 

Cruise terminals are, for the most part, designed very differently than airports. They generally will see only one turnover per day, and the route taken by passengers when embarking is different than the route taken by passengers disembarking. The exception is usually a small amount of terminal hallway and the gangplank. However, seldom if ever will you see arriving and departing passengers using the same area at the same time.

 

Air terminals, conversely, have a constant flow of flights arriving and departing, and the passengers for both mingle constantly. The closest you get to any form of separation is with larger airports that have physically separate domestic and international terminals, but even then, a passenger arriving at the international terminal may well head over to the domestic terminal to continue the flight home. And vice versa.

 

In the case of cruise terminals, I don't believe that it would be terribly difficult to find a solution for the small overlap in route. The fact the the two sets of passengers are separated by time and there is only one daily turnover per day makes this measure achievable. 

 

In the case of air terminals, their specific design and the nature of passenger flow makes this measure impossible IMO, which is why the CDC has not chosen to apply the same requirement on airports.

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

 

 

In the case of cruise terminals, I don't believe that it would be terribly difficult to find a solution for the small overlap in route. The fact the the two sets of passengers are separated by time and there is only one daily turnover per day makes this measure achievable. 

 

 

 

Seems to me that at least some terminals could be altered in such a way to have 2 gangways...one for departing...one for arriving.....

There is more than one way to depart the ship at port stops, I'd think they could modify and make it work for turnover days on cruises too....even if only temporarily....

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3 minutes ago, markeb said:

 

Serious  answer?

 

First of all, I'm not sure we're interpreting that statement the way the writers intended. There are ways to accomplish what I assume the intent is without closing down the gangway for 12 hours, most obviously closing the gangway for some period of cleaning and disinfecting, potentially including some form of aerosol with a wait period. I assume the intent is primarily to reduce the risk of departing passengers infecting arriving passengers, and secondarily for arriving passengers to infect departing passengers. That would further reduce the risk of passengers either becoming test positive or developing actual disease on the cruise. In every terminal I've been through in the US, the only potential mingling of passengers would be outside waiting for a cab while incoming passengers drop of luggage, which again can be addressed through process controls (no one in until everyone's out). If the CEO's and public affairs folks stay out if it, the cruise line's technical people who deal with things like the Vessel Sanitation Program will request clarification and work out any remaining details.

 

Why wouldn't it apply at an airport terminal? Incubation period. Even if you flew from Seattle to Beijing, or Houston to Sydney, if you were exposed in the terminal, you're not going to have enough time to become infectious before landing (maybe if you're in the 99th percentile for short incubation periods), so you're not going to transmit on the flight. (Theoretical risk of arriving for the flight immediately before becoming contagious and becoming contagious on the flight, but I'd probably lump that into the same probability as being struck by lightning twice.) And between vaccination and testing, you've got about as robust a method as possible to mitigate as much of that risk as possible.

 

If they really do mean clear the area for 12 hours as a primary or unique control method, I don't know why. And it would be a valid question.

 

 

Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  I have no issue with what you've proposed as a rationale.  It offers an explanation as to how a 12 hr separation might reduce risk, but I don't see it as science based - primarily because  it does not establish that a significant risk exists in the first place, nor does it establish a scientific basis for a 12 hr separation.

 

My question regarding the science behind the 12 hr separation is based on studies that offer conflicting findings.  For instance, assuming cruise passengers and crew are required to be vaccinated.....

  • Surface contact is not a major factor in the spread of Covid, plus surface disinfecting doesn't require 12 hrs.
  • Vaccinated people are not a significant threat to each other and may even meet without masks - although masks would presumably be required inside the terminal. 
  • All disembarking passengers will be tested for Covid before disembarking.
  • All embarking passengers will be fully vaccinated as will terminal workers.
  • Presumably, the concern would be airborne aerosols, but in an environment where the disembarking passengers have been tested for Covid, what's the realistic threat of airborne aerosols and what effect will a 12 hr separation have (e.g. minuscule to micro minuscule)?

So we have a situation where everyone disembarking is Covid free (i.e. tested) and those embarking on the next cruise are fully vaccinated.  I don't see the science that says those embarking passengers are at an unacceptable risk unless there is a 12 hr pause between disembarking and embarking.  It seems to me to be erroring on the side of caution without scientific justification.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Gracie115 said:

 

Seems to me that at least some terminals could be altered in such a way to have 2 gangways...one for departing...one for arriving.....

There is more than one way to depart the ship at port stops, I'd think they could modify and make it work for turnover days on cruises too....even if only temporarily....

I agree. Given the probable short duration of the requirement, I'm sure they'll be looking for quick and easy solutions at a minimal cost.

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31 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

There are some health and safety measures that can be taken with relative ease, and others that are far more difficult, possibly impossible. 

 

Cruise terminals are, for the most part, designed very differently than airports. They generally will see only one turnover per day, and the route taken by passengers when embarking is different than the route taken by passengers disembarking. The exception is usually a small amount of terminal hallway and the gangplank. However, seldom if ever will you see arriving and departing passengers using the same area at the same time.

 

Air terminals, conversely, have a constant flow of flights arriving and departing, and the passengers for both mingle constantly. The closest you get to any form of separation is with larger airports that have physically separate domestic and international terminals, but even then, a passenger arriving at the international terminal may well head over to the domestic terminal to continue the flight home. And vice versa.

 

In the case of cruise terminals, I don't believe that it would be terribly difficult to find a solution for the small overlap in route. The fact the the two sets of passengers are separated by time and there is only one daily turnover per day makes this measure achievable. 

 

In the case of air terminals, their specific design and the nature of passenger flow makes this measure impossible IMO, which is why the CDC has not chosen to apply the same requirement on airports.

 

 

 

I agree that this policy would be impossible to apply to an air terminal.  Your explanation of the different passenger flows is interesting - particularly with respect to the lack of overlap between the paths taken by departing passengers and embarking passengers.  In my mind this raises even more questions as to the need/benefit of a 12 hr separation and what science exists that justifies this policy when so little area is actually shared between arriving and departing passengers.  I know others disagree, but I just don't see the necessity of this 12 hr separation.

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15 minutes ago, Gracie115 said:

 

Seems to me that at least some terminals could be altered in such a way to have 2 gangways...one for departing...one for arriving.....

There is more than one way to depart the ship at port stops, I'd think they could modify and make it work for turnover days on cruises too....even if only temporarily....

That sure sounds like more cruise line friendly solution than a 12 hr separation.

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1 minute ago, mnocket said:

So we have a situation where everyone disembarking is Covid free (i.e. tested) and those embarking on the next cruise are fully vaccinated.  I don't see the science that says those embarking passengers are at an unacceptable risk unless there is a 12 hr pause between disembarking and embarking.  It seems to me to be erroring on the side of caution without scientific justification.

 

 

And this time around, I'm not going to argue that...

 

I suspect, but can't prove and know no one who could tell me the answer, that this document was originally written well before the promised December delivery date. And caught up in transition, then (appropriately, IMHO) interagency review, and ultimately updated with the vaccine information. At the time I don't think anyone would have dared hope the transmission data would be as good as it appears to be following vaccination. Which leaves you with a couple of lines that should have been revisited, but weren't. 

 

I don't think there's anything magical about 12 hours either. Someone wanted a number. It happens in the real world, and then it becomes the standard. There are some long winded examples that I'll skip today. I'd rather they discuss the cumulative effect of control measures, which pretty much follows what you laid out. In 2020, I don't know that would have been acceptable risk (everyone was pursuing 0 risk...), but I'd think it would be today. And even though it looks like a pretty small risk to allow vaccinated passengers to mingle, it's easy enough to prevent it, so I guess I'm in the why not prevent it category. But I don't get the 12 hour thing either. Which is why if I were the point of contact on this at a terminal or cruise line, I'd be quietly asking my counterpart at the CDC what the intent of the 12 hours was, and can we get clarification on alternatives.

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16 minutes ago, mnocket said:

Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  I have no issue with what you've proposed as a rationale.  It offers an explanation as to how a 12 hr separation might reduce risk, but I don't see it as science based - primarily because  it does not establish that a significant risk exists in the first place, nor does it establish a scientific basis for a 12 hr separation.

 

While you may not understand or see the risk rationale, obviously the CDC does. Further, it is not encumbant on it to explain the entirety of its thinking to all and sundry interested parties.

 

I know many find it convenient to lambaste the CDC and suggest it is not competent. So far I have yet to see any of its detractors a) present their credentials and b) suggest data based alternatives that will continue to protect everyone.

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5 minutes ago, broberts said:

 

While you may not understand or see the risk rationale, obviously the CDC does. Further, it is not encumbant on it to explain the entirety of its thinking to all and sundry interested parties.

 

I know many find it convenient to lambaste the CDC and suggest it is not competent. So far I have yet to see any of its detractors a) present their credentials and b) suggest data based alternatives that will continue to protect everyone.

I guess I'm just one of those people who doesn't place blind faith in authority.  I actually believe that it is incumbent upon them to justify their actions - especially when it comes to restricting others.

 

You believe they "obviously" have justification even though they have not explained it.  I see it differently.

 

@Fouremcoreally highlighted the disconnect between this policy and reality when he pointed out that the physical paths taken by arriving and departing passengers are almost entirely different (except for the gangway) - they do not share the same terminal space!  One doesn't need a PhD in Epidemiology to see that two groups of people traveling along separate paths don't pose a significant threat to one-another and don't need to be separated by 12 hrs. Even more.....  these people have all been fully vaccinated and the departing passengers have been tested before disembarking.

 

What I think happened here is that bureaucrats made up a requirement that sounded reasonable to them while lacking  subject matter expertise in the cruise industry or cruise terminal procedures, and therefore lacking scientific justification.  I question... do the people who wrote this requirement even know that arriving and departing passengers follow almost entirely separate paths?  I can't imagine that someone knowing this would impose such a requirement.  It makes no sense to me, but I respect your right to believe differently and won't try to sway your belief - just explain the reasoning for mine.

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While I understand the reasoning behind the 12-hour separation, in a general sense, the thing that puzzles me is why it is a concern to the CDC that embarking and disembarking passengers share the same gangplank within a 12-hour period, yet the new arrivals can go to the departing passengers' cabins and to all of the common areas of the ship without delay. If the CDC is satisfied that the cleaning of the cabins and other areas aboard the ship is sufficient for them to be deemed "safe", why would similar cleaning of the gangplank or other areas common to the two sets of passengers not be deemed sufficient as well? 

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1 hour ago, Fouremco said:

While I understand the reasoning behind the 12-hour separation, in a general sense, the thing that puzzles me is why it is a concern to the CDC that embarking and disembarking passengers share the same gangplank within a 12-hour period, yet the new arrivals can go to the departing passengers' cabins and to all of the common areas of the ship without delay. If the CDC is satisfied that the cleaning of the cabins and other areas aboard the ship is sufficient for them to be deemed "safe", why would similar cleaning of the gangplank or other areas common to the two sets of passengers not be deemed sufficient as well? 

 

It may be as simple as the gangways are clearly under US jurisdiction and the cabins would not be for the full 12 hours.

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6 hours ago, mnocket said:

Hmmm   is this a "science based" requirement?  If so, what's the underlying science and why wouldn't it also apply to airport terminals?

airports do not have a couple of thousand people that spent multiple days together, in an environment that has demonstrated very high R0 with COVID all leaving through a closed space in a relatively short time, followed by another couple thousand people that will be spending multiple days together in that same environment.

 

Most of the worst situations on cruise ships has involved cases from one cruise infecting the next cruise.  As a result the CDC has moved to eliminate that possibility by 1 preventing passengers from doing B2B cruises 2. Making sure people getting off of one cruise do not come in contact with those boarding the next cruise.

 

Cruises that had infections that carried on and dramatically impacted the next cruise include the Grand, the more recent Hurtigrutin cruise in Norway just as examples.

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45 minutes ago, nocl said:

airports do not have a couple of thousand people that spent multiple days together, in an environment that has demonstrated very high R0 with COVID all leaving through a closed space in a relatively short time, followed by another couple thousand people that will be spending multiple days together in that same environment.

 

Most of the worst situations on cruise ships has involved cases from one cruise infecting the next cruise.  As a result the CDC has moved to eliminate that possibility by 1 preventing passengers from doing B2B cruises 2. Making sure people getting off of one cruise do not come in contact with those boarding the next cruise.

 

Cruises that had infections that carried on and dramatically impacted the next cruise include the Grand, the more recent Hurtigrutin cruise in Norway just as examples.

Which fully vaccinated cruises have a demonstrated R0 greater than 1?

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, D C said:

Which fully vaccinated cruises have a demonstrated R0 greater than 1?

they have not demonstrated the opposite  either so at this point it is pure speculation.

 

on the other hand cruise ships passengers have demonstrated very high R0. Including on the Hurtigrutin ship sailing during the pandemic using protective measures.

 

Also at this time the CDC has not said vaccines required (though they have recommended) and the cruise lines in their plans have not said they will be as plans have not yet been written

Edited by nocl
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5 hours ago, D C said:

Which fully vaccinated cruises have a demonstrated R0 greater than 1?

 

I suspect most of the document was written before any data existed on viral transmission or lack thereof in fully vaccinated populations. Certainly it appears that the CDC contemplated non fully vaccinated cruises.

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This past day on this thread has been a very interesting discussion based upon facts, emerging knowledge,  and some well-intentioned educated speculation.  No right or wrong answer here yet IMO.  Just a strong discussion.  Hopefully there will be a similar discussion at the CDC.

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12 hour wait period. 

Correct me if I missed something else from the CDC, but this seems to be a completely new guideline that does not match with anything they have said in the past year. 

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29 minutes ago, D C said:

12 hour wait period. 

Correct me if I missed something else from the CDC, but this seems to be a completely new guideline that does not match with anything they have said in the past year. 

I believe this is because the COVID Pandemic changes and evolves, we now have vaccines, the infection rates decrease as populations take the precautions CDC recommends and when the rates decrease, people quit following the precautions and rates increase.....things change. 
 

the point of the CDC not changing the Nov 2021 cruise restrictions was because they thought it was too early, and the event COVID increases infer it is too early. 
 

but none of that means it isn’t getting time to modify the cruise restrictions. 
 

den

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10 hours ago, Denny01 said:

I believe this is because the COVID Pandemic changes and evolves, we now have vaccines, the infection rates decrease as populations take the precautions CDC recommends and when the rates decrease, people quit following the precautions and rates increase.....things change. 
 

the point of the CDC not changing the Nov 2021 cruise restrictions was because they thought it was too early, and the event COVID increases infer it is too early. 
 

but none of that means it isn’t getting time to modify the cruise restrictions. 
 

den

Respectfully, Den, my question was not one of 'why' but rather of 'if'.  In the past year, I've heard a lot of "6 feet" and "15 minutes", guidelines, which have been quite consistent, but I honestly don't recall a single CDC guideline that mentioned a 12-hour buffer of any kind.  If they're making up something new, I would expect to hear about it for something other than cruise gangways. 

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