A Norwegian Cruise Line ship with 3,200 passengers and crew landed in New Orleans on Sunday amid a COVID-19 outbreak on a ship, which includes a suspected case of the Omicron coronavirus disease. So far, a total of 17 people aboard have tested positive.
The news raises concerns that the outbreak could continue to grow and put those on land at greater risk of the variant. Cruise ships are notorious for harboring outbreaks. At the dawn of the pandemic, several outbreaks at sea showed how easily the coronavirus could spread in such tightly packed and highly socialized vessels. And the Omicron version may be the most permeable version yet identified. Early data from South Africa suggests it may spread more than twice as fast as the already hypertransmissible delta variant.
Over the weekend, state, local and federal health officials worked with Norwegian Cruise Line to enforce disease-prevention protocols when people were disembarked, Norwegian Breakaway, In a media statement SundayNorwegian Cruise Line said anyone who lands will be tested. “Any guest who has tested positive for COVID-19 will travel by private vehicle to their private residence or self-isolate in company-provided accommodation,” the cruise line said.
However, it is not clear how effective these protocols will be and how the passengers will be tracked after they land. A WVUE Fox 8 reporter in New Orleans spoke with passengers as they disembarked from the ship and lined up for ground transportation. Some had heard of the outbreak while others had not.
“Yeah, we didn’t hear about it until we heard you talking a second ago,” said Don Cannon, a cruiser from North Carolina, Told WVUE reporters while standing in line, “It would have been nice to know. We might have taken a few more precautions.” Another former passenger in the line also said he was “never told anyone was positive.”
All passengers and crew were required to be fully vaccinated prior to boarding break away, He had to test negative on an antigen test before setting sail. The ship departed New Orleans on 28 November, stopping in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, then returned to New Orleans this weekend.
Omicron ship has sailed
It is not clear how the corona virus got on the ship. On Saturday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that the cruise line had detected 10 COVID-19 cases in the middle break awayof passengers and crew. On Sunday, the Health Department told Seven additional cases, including a possible Omicron case among the crew. The Department of Health said that “the crew member is not a resident of Louisiana and did not leave the ship” but did not release any additional information about that case or others.
The Louisiana Department of Health did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for more information.
In addition to spark concerns about Omicron outbreak at sea, cases break away It was also highlighted once again that when authorities in South Africa first sounded the alarm internationally on 24 November, the circulation of this version was well underway. The first case identified in the US was of a resident who had returned from South Africa on November 22. The second case was a Minnesota man who had not had any recent international travel, but 53,000 people traveled to New York City from November 19 to November 21 for a participating anime convention. He tested positive a few days later.
In A New York Times article published on SundayThe man, identified as Peter McGinn, a 30-year-old health care analyst from Minneapolis, was vaccinated. McGinn told the Times that he doesn’t know how he got infected, but he spent the night attending conference discussion panels, chatting with strangers about his anime podcasts, and singing karaoke with friends at night.
After returning home in Minneapolis, McGinn said he felt unusually tired and had a mild cough. They soon learned that a friend from the conference, who lives in North Carolina, had tested positive. He told the Times that, since then, about half of the 30 vaccinated people have tested positive, missing socializing from the convention.
Currently, at least 17 US states have reported trace Omicron cases. That figure also includes Louisiana, which reported its first probable case on December 3.