Senator calls for ‘petri dish’ cruise ships with Covid outbreaks to cut operations

A Democratic lawmaker has described cruise ships as “petri dishes” for Covid, and urged them to stop their operations.

Amid a spike in infections of the coronavirus, largely as a result of the Omicron strain, Senator Richard Blumenthal, said that warnings about the way the virus would likely spread as the society and economy reopened had proved “sadly prescient”.

As the death toll in the US reached at least 819,000 and health officials said they were monitoring up to 75 different cruise ships, Mr Blumenthal said it was time for those vessels to once again suspend their operations.

“Our warnings have proved sadly prescient and continuously compelling,” he tweeted.

“Time for CDC and cruise lines to protect consumers and again pause – docking their ships.”

In March 2020, when the pandemic first hit, the industry was devastated after authorities shut it down in a bid to get on top of the spread of infections.

It took weeks of effort to return passengers and crews already on ships already at sea, back to port.

After more than a year, many cruise operators restarted their operations over the summer, as the US government began its vaccine programme and such operations were again deemed safe for the public, particularly given that operators demanded passengers be vaccinated.

Omicron variant overwhelming hospital workers

But amid the latest wave of the coronavirus, there have been reports of infections at sea, and at least four ocean cruise ships were turned away from ports of call or were prohibited from letting passengers disembark this week because of Covid cases.

This week it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was investigating as many as 75 different cruise ships.

NBC News said 36 ships were under active investigation, while 32 were vessels where the CDC had already conducted investigations and the probes were continuing. A further seven cases were being monitored.

Mr Blumenthal, represents Connecticut, added: “Cruises are repeating recent history as petri dishes of Covid infection.”

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.