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


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1 minute ago, bEwAbG said:

 

You keep saying versions of this but are not correct in the underlying facts.  The cruise lines haven't finished their part of the first step in order to move on to the second step.  Here is a quote from a news article earlier this week from Richard Fain: “Interestingly, [CSO] calls for a four-phase process, and now we’re four months into it, and we’re still in phase one and don’t know what’s required for phase two."  To say they're waiting for the details of Phase 2 before they can finish Phase 1 is disingenuous at best (a distraction, as I noted in an earlier comment). 

 

Had they done a better job of self-policing their industry at the beginning of the pandemic, they would likely be getting more benefit of the doubt.  Also, there are plenty of industries that receive tighter regulation & more scrutiny when they have proven to be untrustworthy.  See the meatpacking industry in the early 20th century for a good example.

My understanding is that some ships (and yes, the Framework was weirdly ship-specific) have met phase 1.  Phase 1 was simply establishing laboratory testing of the onboard crew in US Waters.   But understand that any phasing on the part of the cruise lines is expensive because it means crewing the ship and getting it into US waters.   You need to add to this the recent comments of Frank del Rio (CEO of Norwegian Holdings and one of the most experienced cruise executives in the world) that it will take his cruise line about 90 days to restart after being given a green light from the CDC.

 

But instead of playing with words lets look at what the CDC has said: 

 

"CDC will help ships prepare and protect crew members during the initial phases by:

  • establishing a laboratory team dedicated to cruise ships to provide information and oversight for COVID-19 testing,
  • updating its color-coding system to indicate ship status,
  • updating its technical instructions, as needed, and
  • updating the “Enhanced Data Collection (EDC) During COVID-19 Pandemic Form” to prepare for surveillance for COVID-19 among passengers."

 

No BS...just the facts.  The CDC has not "updated its technical instructions" despite the cruise industry making the request on several occasions.  The document also says"

 

'CDC will continue to update its guidance and recommendations to specify basic safety standards and public health interventions based on the best scientific evidence available."

 

But now a year after the cruise line halt and 5 months after the publishing of the framework nothing has been done by the CDC!  And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this week we learned that the current Director of the CDC was not even aware her agency was responsible for the cruise line shut down. 

 

And lets look at another aspect.  When the framework was written there were no approved COVID vaccines anywhere in the world.  Vaccines are a game changer and need to worked into the framework/guidelines.  But so far, not a word from the CDC!  

 

Hank

 

 

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7 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

Just to confirm your view of the facts.  The Director of the CDC and the Secretary of HHS cannot be fired by the head of the executive branch, the President?   The heads of those agencies do not (or cannot ) change when the Administration changes?  Are you sure?  


Secretary of HHS is Senate Confirmed. They almost always change. CDC Director changes more often these days. 
 

The President can remove almost any government executive. That’s well established.

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4 minutes ago, markeb said:


Secretary of HHS is Senate Confirmed. They almost always change. CDC Director changes more often these days. 
 

The President can remove almost any government executive. That’s well established.

United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Member of Cabinet
Reports to President of the United States
Seat Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Washington, D.C.
Appointer President of the United States with Senate advice and consent
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1 minute ago, TrulyBlonde said:
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Member of Cabinet
Reports to President of the United States
Seat Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Washington, D.C.
Appointer President of the United States with Senate advice and consent

AppointerPresident of the United States with Senate advice and consent

 

This is a little deceptive - he/she is a nominee.  But it's usually a rubber stamp.

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9 minutes ago, cltnccruisers said:

AppointerPresident of the United States with Senate advice and consent

 

This is a little deceptive - he/she is a nominee.  But it's usually a rubber stamp.

Starting to waffle a bit, eh?

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46 minutes ago, markeb said:


The Director of the CDC isn’t a political nominee. They’re actually hired by the Secretary of HHS. They’re technically not even a Presidential Appointee. 

Who is a political appointee.

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On 3/24/2021 at 3:54 PM, txart said:

I have come to expect this from the CDC. I have no trust in their decisions or recommendations. They appear to be just another bureaucratic agency with a political agenda and a bias against the cruise industry. If they were operating from a scientific point of view the airlines, amusement parks, big box stores, etc would be held to the same standard.

Mmmm, let's see -- Disney had zero Covid outbreaks, but cruise ships quite a few. Disneyworld isn't a ship full of tiny corridors, where one sleeps no more than a few hundred feet from where one eats. The vast majority of Disneyworld is outside, where transmission is lessened by oh, I dunno, wind. Disneyworld is a largely sober experience but a good percentage of cruisers have a prepaid license to present for booze at dozens of locations.

If you want to see the detailed, 40 page PDF of sailing guidelines the CDC issued, here you go.

 

\https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/CDC-Conditional-Sail-Order_10_30_2020-p.pdf

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1 hour ago, markeb said:


The Director of the CDC isn’t a political nominee. They’re actually hired by the Secretary of HHS. They’re technically not even a Presidential Appointee. 

 

1 hour ago, markeb said:


Secretary of HHS is Senate Confirmed. They almost always change. CDC Director changes more often these days. 
 

The President can remove almost any government executive. That’s well established.

I know you believe you have the facts correct.  (I am just a little suspicious) The last CDC director was appointed by the President and the the current one was appointed by the President.  Or at least that is what was reported.  The President is not likely to fire this one.  


We do agree that they can both be fired by the President at any time and they are part of the executive branch of our government.  And the current sail order spans both administrations even if the current one was not aware of that fact. (Reported, but whoever knows for sure)

Edited by jagoffee
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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

My understanding is that some ships (and yes, the Framework was weirdly ship-specific) have met phase 1.  Phase 1 was simply establishing laboratory testing of the onboard crew in US Waters. 

 

 

Seem to remember some cruise lines (Carnival?) catching bad press for moving all their ships out of US waters to avoid testing requirement..  

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2 hours ago, cltnccruisers said:

Zero disease is not rational. 

 

Quite true and only the anti cdc zealots are suggesting that is the criteria. But then rationality is apparently in short supply.

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1 hour ago, bloosheep said:

Disneyworld isn't a ship full of tiny corridors, where one sleeps no more than a few hundred feet from where one eats.

 

And yet we can spend 4-5 hours on a plane sitting next to a stranger whose face is about 18" from ours.  I'm never that close to anyone on a cruise ship for that amount of time. 

 

Just to be clear... I'm not one who can't wait to get aboard a ship.  I'm more worried about jobs than I am about vacations.  I'm going to let others spend thousands of dollars to be part of the initial testers group, especially since they're not restricting these initial cruises to vaccinated adults only.  As much as I miss cruising, I know it's not an absolutely essential part of my life.  However, I live about 30 minutes from Port Canaveral and know that many people's livelihoods are directly or at least closely tied to the cruising industry. 

 

I'm also among the suspicious that part of this could be politics with the three busiest U.S. cruise ports all being in Florida (Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades). I wonder if the top cruise ports were Atlanta, where the CDC is located (yes, I know that's an impossibility) or Washington, DC, if the cruise industry would still be shut down or if they'd been given a specific list of "must do" items to get things going again. 

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52 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

 

I know you believe you have the facts correct.  (I am just a little suspicious) The last CDC director was appointed by the President and the the current one was appointed by the President.  Or at least that is what was reported.  The President is not likely to fire this one.  


We do agree that they can both be fired by the President at any time and they are part of the executive branch of our government.  And the current sail order spans both administrations even if the current one was not aware of that fact. (Reported, but whoever knows for sure)

 

Without beleaguering this too much...

 

Redfield was appointed by Azar:  https://public3.pagefreezer.com/browse/HHS.gov/31-12-2020T08:51/https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2018/03/21/hhs-secretary-azar-name-robert-r-redfield-md-director-centers-disease-control-and-prevention.html

 

(Archive from the previous administration.) Dr. Walensky's appointment was announced in an HHS press release on February 16 in a list of appointments, none of which appear to be Presidential. It's not a White House release.

 

In most executive agencies, Assistant Secretaries and higher, along with some key positions, are Presidentially Nominated and Senate Confirmed. Below that level, the authority to appoint someone to an executive position resides with the cabinet secretary or sometimes lower, but usually at a Senate Confirmed position. The CDC Director does not require a Presidential appointment. That doesn't mean the President isn't involved and can't make an announcement. Or that the HHS Secretary isn't going to appoint the person the President announces., but the appointment authority is below the President. Clearly in Redfield's case, the appointment was made by the HHS Secretary.

 

And FWIW, I have three documents that begin "The President of the United States has reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of..." and my name is in the Congressional Record at least those three times. I've been Senate confirmed three times more than the CDC Director, and I'm pretty sure the actual President never saw any of them. 

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1 hour ago, TrulyBlonde said:

that was a Home Run

 

There are 537 elected officials in the United States government. Two of them are in the Executive Branch. Every other member of the executive branch is a nominee, appointee, or derives their authority from the President through a nominee or appointee. If cabinet officers were elected officials, we'd have a parliamentary form of government. The decision not to do that was made in 1787.

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3 hours ago, markeb said:

 

Without beleaguering this too much...

 

Redfield was appointed by Azar:  https://public3.pagefreezer.com/browse/HHS.gov/31-12-2020T08:51/https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2018/03/21/hhs-secretary-azar-name-robert-r-redfield-md-director-centers-disease-control-and-prevention.html

 

(Archive from the previous administration.) Dr. Walensky's appointment was announced in an HHS press release on February 16 in a list of appointments, none of which appear to be Presidential. It's not a White House release.

 

In most executive agencies, Assistant Secretaries and higher, along with some key positions, are Presidentially Nominated and Senate Confirmed. Below that level, the authority to appoint someone to an executive position resides with the cabinet secretary or sometimes lower, but usually at a Senate Confirmed position. The CDC Director does not require a Presidential appointment. That doesn't mean the President isn't involved and can't make an announcement. Or that the HHS Secretary isn't going to appoint the person the President announces., but the appointment authority is below the President. Clearly in Redfield's case, the appointment was made by the HHS Secretary.

 

And FWIW, I have three documents that begin "The President of the United States has reposed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of..." and my name is in the Congressional Record at least those three times. I've been Senate confirmed three times more than the CDC Director, and I'm pretty sure the actual President never saw any of them. 

First, thank you for your service to our country.  Obviously you have a lot more experience/knowledge of these type of appointments.  I will never learn not to believe various media reports that say someone is selected or appointed by the President.  (Even a CDC press release)

 

Also thank you for taking the time to come back and explain.

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6 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

First, thank you for your service to our country.  Obviously you have a lot more experience/knowledge of these type of appointments.  I will never learn not to believe various media reports that say someone is selected or appointed by the President.  (Even a CDC press release)

 

Also thank you for taking the time to come back and explain.


It’s a nuance that most people never need to think about, and rarely matters. If memory serves, there was at least one Supreme Court decision in the last ten years that differentiated authorities between Senate confirmed positions and others. And many executive positions aren’t. Oddly enough though, every major or lieutenant commander or above in a uniformed service is Senate confirmed. Which is still kind of bizarre in the 21st century!

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Wow.  Thought I was looking at another stupid exchange on the Royal Caribbean board.

It dos not matter how the directors of HHS and CDC get their jobs.

What does matter it HHS next week HAS A DIRECTOR and can begin making policy moves.

Hopefully CLIA can also do a better job of stating their proposed protocols.  Obviously things have changed with vaccines.  

Maybe everyone can sit down and make a plan going forward and get cruises going in August.

 

 

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9 hours ago, cltnccruisers said:

Why should the industry spend literally millions guessing what might be accepted by the CDC?

 

It would not be spending millions guessing.  

 

It would be using their expertise (both in house and with the members of their healthy sail panel) to put forth an detailed plan for returning to cruising.  

 

They have the CDC frame work,  They have the EU guidelines.  Would not cost much or for that matter take much time to know out a proposal taking advantage of what has gone in Europe. The cruise lines certainly know their ship staffing. They are having to do work break downs and detailed assignments for the cruises they are planning in the Caribbean.  They are requiring vaccinations and testing.

 

The only major piece in the CDC framework that they are not necessarily doing in their Caribbean cruises is to comply with the evacuation and medical treatment agreements with the various ports at cruise line expense.

 

If they wanted to they could have a strawman proposal on the desks at CDC in a week or two.

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8 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I mentioned this in another post but here goes again.  You need to listen to yourself!  What you are saying that a private business (i.e. cruise line) must submit a plan and justify itself to an agency of the US Government.   There was a time when anyone could open a business and the burden was on the government to prevent a business from operating.   Now, an agency of the US Government has shut down an entire industry (with some decent justification) but continued to keep that business shut down for over a year without providing any recourse, due process,  or even an explanation of their current action.  The Government has, so far, refused to provide any regulations or procedures for that industry to operate nor have they said if and when that business (cruise industry) will ever be allowed to reopen....if ever!

Some here point out that the Nov 1 framework expires on Oct 31 so they assume things will resume at that time.  But if you read the guidelines the CDC has said they can extend the restrictions/shutdown.  Without legal action the CDC, could in theory, keep the cruise lines shut down forever!

 

I spent over 30 years a government employee/regulator in the healthcare industry.  If we had an issue with a healthcare facility we could not just shut it down because we felt like it....but we had to go through a specific legal process and cite the facility.  In most cases they would be given an opportunity to to make corrections (based on our regulations) in which case they could continue to operate.  Even if they did get shut down they had the opportunity to come into compliance and reopen.    What is being done to the cruise lines is almost a%% backwards and it is completely unamerican.

 

Hank

A bit different with the FDA if a facility is out of compliance with GMP they can be and often are shutdown until the manufacturing facility is back in  compliance.  

 

Depends upon the type facility, the regulations, the regulatory authority and the risk.

 

With the CDC it is more like the FDA with the key requirement in the case of the CDC being that a state of emergency involving a communicable disease has been declared.

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8 hours ago, kearney said:

Less impact on those economies.... not that this means anything.

CDC focus is on zero disease.... doesn't really matter if kids lose a year of education or commit suicide..that is not what their focus is on. This is why they should be providing guidance but the decision needs to be made by those with a more complete view...to balance risks... if you go for zero... then none of us would every fly, drive or leave the house... Problem is.. it is more of a political decision and no one wants to be on the wrong side of a decision...so it is easy to just say "follow the science" and essentially leave it to the CDC. I don't blame them... no one wants to be the one that says go ahead and then another ship is stuck... and if they have no problems...no one will say they were the hero... there is no upside for a political type making this decision.

the CDC does not focus on zero disease.  It focuses on reducing the impacts and establishing a degree of control on the pandemic.  Basically reducing it to the point that it is no longer a pandemic.  That is a long way from zero disease.

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5 hours ago, SunsetPoint said:

 

And yet we can spend 4-5 hours on a plane sitting next to a stranger whose face is about 18" from ours.  I'm never that close to anyone on a cruise ship for that amount of time. 

 

Just to be clear... I'm not one who can't wait to get aboard a ship.  I'm more worried about jobs than I am about vacations.  I'm going to let others spend thousands of dollars to be part of the initial testers group, especially since they're not restricting these initial cruises to vaccinated adults only.  As much as I miss cruising, I know it's not an absolutely essential part of my life.  However, I live about 30 minutes from Port Canaveral and know that many people's livelihoods are directly or at least closely tied to the cruising industry. 

 

I'm also among the suspicious that part of this could be politics with the three busiest U.S. cruise ports all being in Florida (Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades). I wonder if the top cruise ports were Atlanta, where the CDC is located (yes, I know that's an impossibility) or Washington, DC, if the cruise industry would still be shut down or if they'd been given a specific list of "must do" items to get things going again. 

The primary difference between a cruise ship and an air plane is this.

 

There have been very few cases of major transmission on aircraft.  There have been some. A flight from the US to South Vietnam had some cases of transmission, a Ryanair flight returning to the UK also has some cases.  But out of the thousands and thousands of flights there have been very few documented cases.  When a positive case occurs during contact tracing if that person has recently been on a flight that information is transferred the CDC in the US.  Unfortunately US contact tracing is not the best with many refusing to participate.  In other countries like Australia any flights where someone was positive is listed online.  

 

On the other hand during the brief time that cruise ships were operating in the early days of the pandemic when there were relatively few cases several of the worst breakouts were on ships.  The Diamond Princess had an R0 of 10-12 (which the CDC indicates is higher than found among family members living in the same household). The Ruby Princess accounted for 10% of Australia's cases at one time and was also responsible for an outbreak at a port in New Zealand.  Even once the passengers got off  you had many cases among the crew on the ships.  So cruise ships demonstrated in multiple cases that if it gets on the ship it spreads.

 

There are a number of studies dealing with air flow (top down - air exchanged every 5 minutes, etc.) and other items on air planes that provide the science as to why spread in limited.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Waste of time to file a plan when the agency has deliberately not completed its requirements. 

If you recall the CDC did do a request for information asking the industry for their input prior to the order. Did not see the cruise lines supply any detailed proposals for how the ships could safely operate in response to the RFI.

 

Also keep in mind that if the industry was serious they could present a detailed plan and then publish that they have done so that would clearly identify that the ball is in CDC's court.  The order published did not say that the cruise lines had to wait for technical documents, it only said that any plans that they submitted must be approved.  

 

Wouldn't the fastest way to identify what was acceptable or would be to submit their plan and see what the response was.  The CDC would have to respond in detail and they would have to justify anything that they declined to approve.  Imagine the PR boost if the cruise lines were to submit such a plan and the CDC did not respond.

 

It is my belief that the cruise lines do not want to submit detailed plans because if they do they own it.  They would have to comply and operate that way.  They would not have the ability to be fuzzy in exactly what they are doing.  As those of us that have cruised a lot know.  The cruise lines like being able to change when ever and however they want to.  If they provided a detailed plan they would be locked in for a period of time.

 

That is why the CLIA only talks about dropping the order, not about specific changes in the order. That is why the CLIA sent their broad brush healthy sail panel trying to push that the cruise lines were on top of it so the orders are not necessary.

 

As I have said before the last things the cruise lines want is to have more health reporting requirements after the pandemic than they did before, and to have Coast Guard and CDC expand the operational inspections beyond the previous VSP program.  They do not want a precedent.

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