CDC cruise guidance changing as experts believe latest COVID-19 spike is nearing its peak

MIAMI – Starting Saturday, the CDC’s guidance to prevent COVID-19 on cruise ships will become optional as the agency’s conditional sailing order is set to expire.

It comes as some cruise lines continue to cancel some sailings, the latest being Norwegian Joy, which has now scrapped its next two voyages.

Passengers who returned to the Port of Miami on Saturday said they were unaware of any confirmed cases.

“We haven’t heard of any cases of covid,” said cruise passenger Rhonda Clark. “The ship was at a third capacity, there were no lines. We had a great time.”

The CDC also updated its mask guidelines on Friday, encouraging all Americans to consider wearing the more protective N-95 of KN-95 masks.

“We think, based on some models we’ve looked at, that we may be at the top, which is good news,” said Dr. Hany Atallah, chief medical officer at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

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The rapid rise in COVID cases has pushed the medical field to the limit, with hospitals facing shortages across the state.

Jackson Health officials said their resources have already been exhausted, which is why they are now asking for donations.

“We had a good number of people with covid infection, and we adapted accordingly,” Atallah said.

Hospital officials say the number of patients hospitalized with COVID far exceeds the previous peak. Of their 508 COVID-positive patients, 112 have been vaccinated.

“We’ve turned entire units, five units to be exact, non-ICU units into covid units,” Atallah said.

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