CDC Finds Live Virus On Cruise Ship 17 Days Later

The New York Daily News reports:

Coronavirus stays on surfaces far longer than first thought — with traces found in cabins on the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after they were abandoned, according to alarming new research.

The potentially deadly bug was previously understood to live two to three days on some surfaces — but the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it lasts more than five times as long.

The coronavirus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

USA Today reports:

The CDC found traces of COVID-19 on surfaces in the cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — 17 days after passengers had left the cabins. Of note, the cabins had yet to be disinfected.

While the data doesn’t show if transmission occurred from surfaces, the CDC report recommends exploring that further.

The report outlines the responses on board several high-profile cruise ships, including both the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess. Between the ships, there were more than 800 COVID-19 cases that led to 10 deaths.

Bloomberg News reports:

A previous analysis found that the virus remained viable on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, although levels fell dramatically over time. It was less stable on copper, where no viable virus was found after 4 hours, and cardboard, which was clean after 24 hours, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The latest study looked at uncleaned rooms, but other research has found that cleaning the rooms of Covid-19 patients was highly effective at killing the virus.

Coronavirus has forced the U.S. cruise industry to shut down after a series of outbreaks at sea, and policymakers are looking for clues about the safety of the vessels going forward. The episodes have caused cruise line stocks to crater. The industry has been hurt in the past by outbreaks of norovirus, sometimes called stomach flu.