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Diamond Princess cabins had COVID-19 traces for 17 days

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report indicates the strength of the novel coronavirus to live on surfaces for more than two weeks.

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.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, in February 2020.

The CDC found that Diamond Princess passengers transmitted the disease prior to quarantine and crew infections peaked after the quarantine’s implementation. And 17.9% of those identified as infected never developed symptoms which the CDC said could partially explain the high attack rate among the ship’s passengers and crew.

As for the Grand Princess: Crew members likely got infected on the ship’s first voyage (Feb. 11 to 21, which sailed roundtrip from San Francisco) then gave the disease to passengers on the second. The second trip, when Grand Princess departed San Francisco on Feb. 21, included most of the ship’s 1,111 crew and 68 passengers from the initial voyage. 

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