POST 68. November 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. The CDC “now is hewing more closely to scientific evidence, often contradicting the positions of the Trump administration.”..” “A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic has tested positive for coronavirus..”

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“As the pandemic engulfs the nation, recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been as notable for what they do not say as for what they do. In a turnabout, the agency now is hewing more closely to scientific evidence, often contradicting the positions of the Trump administration.

In scientific briefs published on Tuesday, the C.D.C. described the benefits of masks to wearers, not just to those around them. Agency researchers also urged people to celebrate Thanksgiving only with others in their households or, failing that, to wear a mask with two or more layers.

Administration officials famously have disregarded evidence about the effectiveness of masks, one reason there have been at least three coronavirus outbreaks at the White House and hundreds of cases linked to President Trump’s rallies.

The guidance was only the latest in a series of newly assertive bulletins from the C.D.C. In recent weeks, agency officials have issued strict requirements for cruise lines; updated the science on coronavirus infections in children; re-evaluated the risk from airborne virus indoors; and released recommendations for labs investigating viral reinfections in patients…

Under the Biden administration, the C.D.C. will be restored to its status as the premier public health agency in the world, said Dr. Céline Gounder, a member of President-elect Biden’s advisory group on the coronavirus.

“While their role has been diminished during this current crisis, they play a very important role in all this,” she said. The new administration will rebuild public health and data infrastructure, restore C.D.C. staffing in its overseas outposts and give “control back to the C.D.C.”…

Until the pandemic, the C.D.C. was widely regarded as the world’s leading public health agency. But the muzzling of its scientists by the Trump administration and the politicization of some of its advice crippled its efforts to answer critical questions, experts say, including how schools, churches and businesses should reopen, and how Americans could best protect themselves and their families.

The turnabout began after the Trump administration meddled in the C.D.C.’s vaunted weekly bulletins, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, according to Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who led the agency under President Barack Obama…

“The huge fight over the M.M.W.R. led to the administration backing off, and they’ve been putting out great M.M.W.R.s for the past six to eight weeks that are really important,” Dr. Frieden said….

Other C.D.C. documents in recent weeks have also taken an uncompromising tone. The Trump administration blocked a C.D.C. order to keep cruise ships docked until February, but in late October, the agency’s scientists outlined strict new rules for the industry, including requiring cruise ships to have C.D.C. approval for the laboratories and tests they use.” (A)

“A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a reporter traveling on the ship.

Gene Sloan, a cruise writer for The Points Guy, said in a post on Wednesday that the captain of the SeaDream 1 made a shipwide announcement alerting guests to the positive case and asked that everyone return to their rooms…

Sloan told NBC’s “Today” show that the ship came up with an “incredibly rigorous system” to try and keep Covid-19 cases off the vessel. Everyone was tested before arriving in Barbados and again at the pier and received negative results.

Passengers also did not interact with locals during their stops and were shuttled to empty beaches to either relax or do an excursion…

At the beginning of the trip, passengers were not required to wear face masks. Sloan explained that the ship believed that its extensive testing prior to passengers boarding “would block Covid at the door, so to speak.”

But that changed when two days into the voyage the captain said that masks would be mandatory.

“I’m a little worried,” Sloan said. “I’ve interacted with the other passengers on board over the last few days.”

Cruise ships were not allowed to sail U.S. waters after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order in March following coronavirus outbreaks on several ships. On Oct. 30, the CDC issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” which will help the cruise industry implement safety.” (B)

“So far a total of seven passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship docked in Barbados, according to two passengers on the ship.

Passengers who have tested negative for the virus will be able to leave the ship and travel home, Gene Sloan and Ben Hewitt told CNN on Friday. They are both among a handful of cruise journalists and bloggers on board.

The SeaDream Yacht Club cruise was the first to return to the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic shut operations down in March and was meant to demonstrate that increased safety protocols, including regular testing aboard the ship, could allow cruise voyages to take place during the pandemic.” (C)


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