Many industries have been negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus, including the cruise industry, with cruise ships deemed some of the most dangerous places due to the limited airflow and confined spaces. With no global organization or agency keeping track of cases from cruise ships, the Miami Herald, a Florida-based newspaper, decided to track outbreaks on oceangoing cruise ships.
As of April 23rd, the Miami Herald found at least 3,582 people during or directly after a cruise have tested positive for COVID-19, with “at least 65 people” dead as a result. The COVID-19 cases they found were linked to at least 54 oceangoing cruise ships — roughly one-fifth of the global ocean cruise fleet. However, that number could still grow, with the outlet pledging to continue tracking and providing weekly updates until the pandemic ends.
Some of the infected passengers were sent straight from the cruise ships to hospitals, but many returned to their homes — some of them traveling back home through commercial flights, potentially spreading the virus even further. Adding to the issue was the fact that many crew members were unable to leave their ships due to the virus; at one point, 15 cruise ships were rotating around PortMiami, leaving them as “sitting ducks for outbreaks,” Miami Herald reports.
Miami Herald reporters collected data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foreign health departments, news reports, as well as interviews from passengers and crew aboard those ships. The outlet reached out to four of the world’s most significant cruise lines, though only Carnival and MSC Cruises provided data.
You can read the Miami Herald’s report in full here.