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Sen. Blumenthal calls cruise ships ‘petri dishes of COVID infection’ as the industry grapples with dozens of outbreaks

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on cruise lines to shut down amid reported outbreaks.

Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal called cruise ships “petri dishes of COVID infection” in a tweet Tuesday. 
  • He also called for cruise lines to dock their ships as the Omicron variant spreads in the US. 
  • The CDC is currently investigating at least 86 cruise ships that have had COVID-19 outbreaks recently. 

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal called cruise ships “Petri dishes of COVID infection,” on Tuesday and called for cruise lines to dock their ships amid a slew of outbreaks on board. 

“Our warnings have proved sadly prescient & continuously compelling. Time for CDC & cruise lines to protect consumers & again pause—docking their ships. Cruises are repeating recent history as petri dishes of COVID infection,” Blumenthal said in a tweet. 

—Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) December 28, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating or observing at least 86 cruise ships that have had COVID-19 outbreaks on the ships, Insider previously reported. 

According to the CDC’s website, 86 ships have either met the agency’s threshold to start an investigation of crew or passengers COVID-19 outbreaks, or a health department has alerted the agency of positive COVID-19 passengers who disembarked within five days.

A Cruise Lines International Association spokesperson said in a statement that cruise ships have seen fewer COVID-19 cases than the general population thanks to vaccine mandates.

But the likelihood of getting the virus on a cruise ship is still “high,” according to a statement from a CDC spokesperson. 

Cruise ship lines affected by COVID-19 outbreaks include Royal Caribbean, Disney, Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity, and MSC Cruises. 

The rise in cases on cruise ships comes as the Omicron variant sweeps through the United States, leading to record-high new case totals in some regions.


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