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US Appeals court lifts CDC cruise ship restrictions in win for florida


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25 minutes ago, danv3 said:

That's looking to me like mid- to late-October unless the parties and the court accelerate things considerably. 

I see this now ..... thanks for the link to the applicable document. I'm watching the Court Listener for The Middle Court of FL (Merryday's). Do you have a link to the 11th COA docket or Court Listener for the 11th?

It will be interesting to see if Merryday issues a clarification on the status of the CSO. As you note, technically it would be invalid but as a practical matter it's still in effect. The lines aren't going to ignore the provisions of the CSO for several reasons. IMO some parts of the CSO - the one's consistent with the HSP recommendations - are good. The other parts involving the onerous reporting and contractual requirements aren't. Again, IMO, this isn't going to change the pathways the CDC established to restart sailing nor vaccination policies already established by the lines and playing out.

So, getting back to Jill's question, "what does all this mean for the future?" In the short term by which I mean for the remainder of the 2021 cruising season, my take is that the status quo will apply. The lines have operational plan that are somewhat inflexible and their health and safety policies have been written, crew training has been completed and it would be a cluster to change course now. Over the long term though (January 2022 and beyond) a lot depends on how the pandemic plays out. If governments land on an approach that deems SARS2 manageable and slides it from a pandemic to a seasonal nuisance, many of the existing mitigation measures now in effect and that we are experiencing in our return to cruising (including vaccination policies) will ease ..... but even that is hard to judge. A lot of moving parts. OTH, if governments choose eradication of SARS2 - or as close as possible to getting there - (see Australia and NZ) what we are experiencing now in terms of mitigation measures will likely persist. Something in between is the most likely.

If the outcome of the original FL law suit - and I believe this would come at the SCOTUS level - is to invalidate the NSO and the CSO as both being unconstitutional, the power of the CDC to carry out what they clearly believed 16 months ago was legal - the NSO - and a wide ranging array of pandemic mitigation measures will be significantly undercut in the short term. I've also opined that in the after math of the pandemic, after the PHE is cancelled, and that's assuming it will be and I think it will at some point, Congress is going to tweak all the applicable law that led HHS and the CDC to believe they acted lawfully in implementing the NSO.

 

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9 minutes ago, dswallow said:

Don't worry about the CSO not being enforceable; the CDC still can flex its mask muscle.

 

CDC says mask rules will apply to Florida cruise ships not following sail order | Reuters

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Friday that it will enforce its transit mask requirements on cruise ships in Florida that opt not to abide by its conditional sail order following a court ruling."

"The CDC said it will not waive mask requirements in indoor spaces on cruise ships for those lines that are not voluntarily complying with its conditional sail order."

Obviously, I dislike intrusive government mandates, but unlike what appears to be court rulings that are undercutting the basis upon which they issued the NSO and CSO, that they can continue to tell people what to do in transportation hubs (airports, train and bus terminals that are under federal jurisdiction) as well as public conveyances that use them and cruise ships operating in US waters are a public conveyance.   

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30 minutes ago, JeffB said:

Obviously, I dislike intrusive government mandates, but unlike what appears to be court rulings that are undercutting the basis upon which they issued the NSO and CSO, that they can continue to tell people what to do in transportation hubs (airports, train and bus terminals that are under federal jurisdiction) as well as public conveyances that use them and cruise ships operating in US waters are a public conveyance.   

this is true, but international waters start 3 miles off the beach....then what?

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16 minutes ago, Tarheel0907 said:

this is true, but international waters start 3 miles off the beach....then what?

Might be an argument if the ship wasn't returning to US soil.  I'm no maritime legal expert but many US regulations apply beyond the international water threshold because the ship is operating from and is scheduled to return to a US port.  

We see evidence of this on many fronts including immigration and customs rules, regulations and laws. 

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I think we’ll be dealing with this for a long time to come in one form or another. So long as there are no significant outbreaks and the protocols work…then I would hope that sailing gets back to full speed ahead, with less restrictions, and we can get back to enjoying Royal’s hospitality.

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1 hour ago, dswallow said:

Don't worry about the CSO not being enforceable; the CDC still can flex its mask muscle.

 

CDC says mask rules will apply to Florida cruise ships not following sail order | Reuters

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Friday that it will enforce its transit mask requirements on cruise ships in Florida that opt not to abide by its conditional sail order following a court ruling."

"The CDC said it will not waive mask requirements in indoor spaces on cruise ships for those lines that are not voluntarily complying with its conditional sail order."

iu.jpeg.e3069becef5d263455671281641d6dc3.jpeg

"Don't worry my little pretty, I'll get you and your dog another way - Masks - masks - and more layers of masks!!!"

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1 hour ago, dswallow said:

"The CDC said it will not waive mask requirements in indoor spaces on cruise ships for those lines that are not voluntarily complying with its conditional sail order."

It's like the CDC is desperately trying to retain control of cruise ships by a shoestring, or this case a mask string.  

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2 hours ago, dswallow said:

Don't worry about the CSO not being enforceable; the CDC still can flex its mask muscle.

 

CDC says mask rules will apply to Florida cruise ships not following sail order | Reuters

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Friday that it will enforce its transit mask requirements on cruise ships in Florida that opt not to abide by its conditional sail order following a court ruling."

"The CDC said it will not waive mask requirements in indoor spaces on cruise ships for those lines that are not voluntarily complying with its conditional sail order."

Just a little poke in the ribs to remind the cruise industry that they will still have to deal with the CDC no matter how any court rules.  It also may be an attempt to get the cruise lines to side with the CDC in the suit, trying to make a State win bad for the cruise lines.

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I'm going to risk brining this up - masking - because for those of you coming to FL to start a cruise, there are some risk calculations I'd recommend you follow. 

Background: For a long time and after we got about 2-3 months into the SARS2 pandemic, I've been an advocate of taking individual responsibility for your own health and the health of those around you. This is the land of the free and I support that basic concept that includes the right to choose ...... to a point.

The courts are making it clear that state's (not the feds .... yet and this is at issue in FL v. Bacerra) have the right under policing authority granted to them in the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution , to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/police_powers

So whether you think masks protect or don't, whether you think the local authorities can tell you to wear a mask to enter or not is immaterial. They have the lawful right to do so and the courts have been uniform in affirming that right. Your experience with this is going to vary depending on the political nature of your own state's positions on this. e.g. Governor Newsome in CA and others already have issued new mask mandates. Governor Desantis in FL and others have avoided them. 

Moving on and for Matt this post is about cruising not so much masks. There are several ways to assess your risk of becoming infected with COVID getting to/from a cruise terminal, in the cruise terminal, on the ship and in ports of call. One of them is viral prevalence (% positivity is an imperfect but satisfactory metric to do that). Another is to assess the environment and the dynamic within it that you will encounter while cruising. e.g., How good is the ventilation? 

Let's look at both in FL:

Viral Prevalence: Right now FL's state wide % positive rate is a whooping 17%. Broward Co. home of PEV is at 15.9%, Dade, home of POM is 19.2%.

The environment and it's dynamic: Even though the risk of infection might be slightly increased with increased viral prevalence outdoors, outdoors you should still be fine unmasked even though the in-port risks are subject to the same kinds of risk assessments. You can look these up yourselves depending on your itinerary. e.g., if your going to Mexico/Coz/Costa Maya and viral prevalence is high (it is) and you see a whole lot of unmasked people in a crowded outdoor market, think carefully about going in there. Assess your own vulnerability and risk tolerance as well as risks to others if you recently became infected while traveling to the cruise port in deciding to go in or stay out.

Onboard a ship that is 95% vaxed, indoors in places where you cannot maintain spacing, I can make an argument to mask. It's a choice and we don' t need to start arguing the utility of masks issue here. You decide .... for now and sailing from US ports. Masking mandates also depend on the country you're sailing from, e.g., in my recent Apex sailing from Pireaus Greece, Celebrity required masks indoors because the Greek government still requires them indoors, on their ferry's and all cruise ships operating in Greek waters.

I'm sailing on Equinox from PEV next week. I've just received an updated list of health and safety protocols for this cruise. Masks are required in the terminal but not on board. "Curated" tours are required in Coz and Costa Maya (that's new) and Tortola (not new). I don't know where the Coz/Costa Maya requirement is coming from. I suspect it is from Celebrity trying to mitigate transmission risk in two places where viral prevalence has become quite high.

In my experience having already sailed on Apex, Celebrity has taken COVID mitigation measures in accordance with the CDC/HSP recommendations. Spacing is not a problem because of the measures Celebrity has implemented for you to include reduced guest loads and obvious table and entertainment venue spacing just about everywhere there are tables or chairs, 

My argument to mask indoors in crowded spaces where you can't maintain separation is stronger aboard ships with a passenger load that has vaxed and unvaxed guests. However, RCL has done a pretty good job with reducing increased transmission risks in this setting in the first place. Again assess your own risk tolerance and act accordingly when you have a choice. If for some reason going forward in sailing from US ports masks become mandated for everyone aboard and inside, you still have a choice. Book smartly with refundable fares and don't go if you're opposed to masking mandates. I know, there might be exceptions to this based your own situation.

At this point and considering the viral prevalence in FL, I'm aboard with the recommendations from the state of FL's PH officials to increase your level of caution for yourself and others around you. These increased case loads are going to decline. What's more important is that those becoming ill in FL and elsewhere from SARS2 infection and the development of COVID, if the need for hospitalization develops, there is plenty of excess bed space and your chance of a full recovery is exceedingly high, it's like 100% if you've been vaxed. Absolute numbers tend to be scary out of context. While disease burden in FL is increasing, it is not accelerating anywhere close to the rate of new infections. IOW, it's manageable and thankfully Governor Desantis recognizes this and isn't knee jerk reacting with new mandated mitigation measures, which, BTW, he has the authority to issue but has chosen not to.

Finally, I want to be very careful to express that while I'm a retired PA and am up on most, but not all, of the COVID literature, I'm giving you my unofficial recommendations here even though they are based on the current (albeit often confusing and conflicting) medical and PH advice. Do your research. Stay safe. 

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17 minutes ago, JeffB said:

I'm going to risk brining this up - masking - because for those of you coming to FL to start a cruise, there are some risk calculations I'd recommend you follow. 

Background: For a long time and after we got about 2-3 months into the SARS2 pandemic, I've been an advocate of taking individual responsibility for your own health and the health of those around you. This is the land of the free and I support that basic concept that includes the right to choose ...... to a point.

The courts are making it clear that state's (not the feds .... yet and this is at issue in FL v. Bacerra) have the right under policing authority granted to them in the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution , to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/police_powers

So whether you think masks protect or don't, whether you think the local authorities can tell you to wear a mask to enter or not is immaterial. They have the lawful right to do so and the courts have been uniform in affirming that right. Your experience with this is going to vary depending on the political nature of your own state's positions on this. e.g. Governor Newsome in CA and others already have issued new mask mandates. Governor Desantis in FL and others have avoided them. 

Moving on and for Matt this post is about cruising not so much masks. There are several ways to assess your risk of becoming infected with COVID getting to/from a cruise terminal, in the cruise terminal, on the ship and in ports of call. One of them is viral prevalence (% positivity is an imperfect but satisfactory metric to do that). Another is to assess the environment and the dynamic within it that you will encounter while cruising. e.g., How good is the ventilation? 

Let's look at both in FL:

Viral Prevalence: Right now FL's state wide % positive rate is a whooping 17%. Broward Co. home of PEV is at 15.9%, Dade, home of POM is 19.2%.

The environment and it's dynamic: Even though the risk of infection might be slightly increased with increased viral prevalence outdoors, outdoors you should still be fine unmasked even though the in-port risks are subject to the same kinds of risk assessments. You can look these up yourselves depending on your itinerary. e.g., if your going to Mexico/Coz/Costa Maya and viral prevalence is high (it is) and you see a whole lot of unmasked people in a crowded market, think carefully about going in there and assess your own vulnerability and risk tolerance in decing to go in or stay out.

Onboard the a ship that is 95% vaxed, indoor places where you cannot maintain spacing, I can make an argument to mask. It's a choice and we don' t need to start arguing the utility of masks issue here. You decide .... for now and sailing from US ports. Masking mandates also depends on the country your sailing from, e.g., in Greece, Celebrity required masks in doors because the Greek government still requires them indoors.

I'm sailing on Equinox from PEV next week. I've just received an updated list of health and safety protocols for this cruise. Masks are required in the terminal but not on board. "Curated" tours are required in Coz and Costa Maya (that's new) and tortola (not new). I don't know where the Coz/Costa Maya requirement is coming from. I suspect it is from Celebrity trying to mitigate transmission risk in two places where viral prevalence has become quite high.

In my experience having already sailed on Apex, Celebrity has taken COVID mitigation measures in accordance with the CDC/HSP recommendations. Spacing is not a problem because of the measures Celebrity has implemented for you to include reduced guest loads and obvious table and entertainment venue spacing just about everywhere there are tables or chairs, 

My argument to mask indoors in crowded spaces where you can't maintain separation is stronger aboard ships with a passenger load that has vaxed and unvaxed guests. However, RCL has done a pretty good job with reducing increased transmission risks in this setting in the first place. Again assess your own risk tolerance and act accordingly when you have a choice. If for some reason going forward in sailing from US ports masks become mandated for everyone aboard and inside, you still have a choice. Book smartly with refundable fares and don't go if you're opposed to masking mandates. I know, there might be exceptions to this based your own situation.

At this point and considering the viral prevalence in FL, I'm aboard with the recommendations from the state's PH official to increase your level of caution for yourself and others around you. These increased case loads are going to decline. What's more important is that those becoming ill in FL and elsewhere from SARS2 infection and the development of COVID, if the need for hospitalization develops, there is plenty of excess bed space and your chance of a full recovery is exceedingly high, it's like 100% if you've been vaxed. Absolute numbers tend to be scary out of context. While siease burden in FL is increasing, it is not accelerating anywhere close to the rate of new infections. IOW, it's manageable and thankfully Governor Desantis recognizes this and isn't knee jerk reacting with new mandated mitigation measures, which, BTW, he has the authority to issue but has chosen not to.

Finally, I want to be very careful to express that while I'm a retired PA and am up on most, but not all, of the COVID literature, I'm giving you my unofficial recommendations here even though they are based on the current (albeit often confusing and conflicting) medical and PH advice. Do your research. Stay safe. 

That is an amazingly well written and reasoned description of the situation and how to approach it.  I am not in the medical field at all, but based on reported experience from people around me, I would add that even though your chances of recovery if you are vaccinated are pretty much 100%, the experience itself can be very bad, a lot worse than the flu or it could be totally inconsequential, but there is currently no accurate way to predict what your experience will be.

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3 hours ago, JeffB said:

Do you have a link to the 11th COA docket or Court Listener for the 11th?

Think it is @dswallow that has been maintaining most of the documents at: https://www.2150.com/files/cc/USCA11-21-12243/

This would be the direct link to the docket: 21-12243 Summary PACER account required and 10 cents a load (if you go over the $30 for the quarter). No Court Listener for the 11th.

 

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1 hour ago, MrMarc said:

That is an amazingly well written and reasoned description of the situation and how to approach it.  I am not in the medical field at all, but based on reported experience from people around me, I would add that even though your chances of recovery if you are vaccinated are pretty much 100%, the experience itself can be very bad, a lot worse than the flu or it could be totally inconsequential, but there is currently no accurate way to predict what your experience will be.

Absolutely. I agree with personal responsibility and doing what is best for you and yours. That said, we had a very scary experience this week. My sister, who has had the shots, got Covid, and it attacked her heart. We almost lost her within a day of getting sick. Long story short, she had a heart condition we didn’t know about, and Covid made it worse. Regeneron and two stents later, we think she will make a mostly full recovery with some heart damage from Covid. I wasn’t so positive about that Tuesday.   
 

I believe we will get thru this newest strain, and this pandemic will pass.  I won’t be complaining about the cruise lines and the choices they make to stay operating. I will just be happy to be onboard. Whatever way these court cases turn out. ?

Thank you all for analyzing all the info. I’ve followed this closely (till this week, when I was distracted). I personally appreciate the time and effort from each of you. ?

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1 hour ago, barbeyg said:

Absolutely. I agree with personal responsibility and doing what is best for you and yours. That said, we had a very scary experience this week. My sister, who has had the shots, got Covid, and it attacked her heart. We almost lost her within a day of getting sick. Long story short, she had a heart condition we didn’t know about, and Covid made it worse. Regeneron and two stents later, we think she will make a mostly full recovery with some heart damage from Covid. I wasn’t so positive about that Tuesday.   
 

I believe we will get thru this newest strain, and this pandemic will pass.  I won’t be complaining about the cruise lines and the choices they make to stay operating. I will just be happy to be onboard. Whatever way these court cases turn out. ?

Thank you all for analyzing all the info. I’ve followed this closely (till this week, when I was distracted). I personally appreciate the time and effort from each of you. ?

I am so sorry about your sister, but I am glad she is ok.  The vaccines are not 100% effective (no vaccine is), but possibly it moderated the COvid enough to have given her time to make it to help.  I already have 4 stents, which is one of the reasons I am so invested in taking precautions and getting the vaccine.  I am afraid that the vaccines may be ineffective on me.  I had both Moderna doses, with only minor reactions.  Then I took both types of antibody test, both were negative.  A week ago I got the J&J vaccine, and again, almost no reaction whatsoever.  So at this point I have no idea whether or not I have any immunity, and I am not going to test again, I've done everything I can.  Now, to a great extent my fate is determined by what people around me do, and too many of them just don't care.  I am going on a cruise in September (at least at this point) and will go as a vaccinated person.  Whatever happens, happens.  I will assume it is as the vaccine studies have shown, that my immunity is just sitting in my T-cells, waiting until the antibodies are needed. 

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@barbeyg, sorry to hear about your sister and hope she fully recovers.

Something I've been struggling with since the start of the pandemic is the stark difference of people's views on it between those that have been untouched by it and those that have. What I mean by that is people who have not gotten ill themselves, people who may have been infected but were asymptomatic or only had mild symptoms, have a different perspective on the pandemic than those who have suffered greatly from COVID or knnow someone who has. As well, medical professionals who come in direct contact with the suffering - and there are millions of these - also have a different perspective.

I'm in that first group. I became infected and even though I was at risk by age at the time of the exposure my symptoms were mild and I recovered in about 5d and tested + for antibodies and -  for viral antigens 3w post positive testing. I did have some lingering fatigue and some neurologic symptoms but nothing significant that hasn't nearly fully abated in the 7 months since I tested positive.

Therefore, I tend to have a much rosier, fact based and optimistic outlook on the pandemic. But let there be no mistake, I fully understand the devastation, emotional and physical, the pandemic has wrought, probably not at the personal level like you do but, I'm empathetic with your group.

I think your message is one that echoes mine - we need to be cautious going forward recognizing this thing isn't over. Although the research tends to suggest the virus will be brought to heel, there are many unknowns regarding SARS2 and it's variants. The pathway to that objective could be bumpy. Thanks for your compliments.

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24 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

Now, to a great extent my fate is determined by what people around me do, and too many of them just don't care.  I am going on a cruise in September (at least at this point) and will go as a vaccinated person.  Whatever happens, happens.  I will assume it is as the vaccine studies have shown, that my immunity is just sitting in my T-cells, waiting until the antibodies are needed. 

I hope you have a wonderful time and your immune system does the work it needs to. ? Like you, I can’t allow life to pass me by. It is too precious to stay home till this is over. ❤️ Thank you for your kind words about my sister. 

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17 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

So at this point I have no idea whether or not I have any immunity, and I am not going to test again, I've done everything I can. 

If it's some consolation to you @MrMarc, antibody tests (AB) that you get out of a box, even the ones administered in a clinic or pharmacy setting, aren't terribly accurate. They will give you a rough idea but your immune response is very complex.  

The out of the box (or wrapper) AB tests typically take a prick of blood from your finger and then measure your Ig response to an infection and sometimes a vaccination. Some people, and you may be one, have no Ig response. No big deal. Almost everyone who gets infected or gets the jab have some type of AB response from Ig to Memory B cells and T cells. A response in the form of any of these either in combination or in isolation can provide some level of protection from COVID.

While it is not necessary in your case, there are serologic tests from blood draws, batteries or panels, that look at a list of antibodies. I'm pretty sure if you had one of these, you'd see how robust your immune response probably was. For the average person, don't run out and ask your health care provider about getting such a test. For others, e.g., transplant or AIDs patients with poor HIV viral control, they might help in developing medical management approaches.

Here are a couple of links if you want to dig deeper. The first is "Spot see Jane" primer from the CDC. It's good. The second is more detailed but not so overwhelming that it's not readable for non-medical people who don't regularly study the human immune system.  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/what-do-antibody-tests-for-sars-cov-2-tell-us-about-immunity--67425

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19 minutes ago, JeffB said:

@barbeyg, sorry to hear about your sister and hope she fully recovers.

I think your message is one that echoes mine - we need to be cautious going forward recognizing this thing isn't over. Although the research tends to suggest the virus will be brought to heel, there are many unknowns regarding SARS2 and it's variants. The pathway to that objective could be bumpy. Thanks for your compliments.

I hope so too, Jeff. She is a tough one, thankfully. 
 

And yes, we are in agreement. ? I try to balance my optimistic outlook on life with being thoughtful of others so I don’t get anyone sick if I catch it.  I didn’t say that this is my second serious brush with Covid. In February, our office had a super-spreader event and only 3 of 17 did not get Covid. I was one of those 3 and witnessing the suffering of our work family was truly awful. We were fortunate that all survived, even though 1 is still on oxygen, another dealing with heart damage.  
 

Cautious optimism (with a bit of realism tossed in due to experience) describes my attitude about Covid perfectly. ???  
 

We will get thru this, and pretty soon all we will have to complain about are deck chair hogs, dress code in the dining room, C&A benefits……?

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17 minutes ago, JeffB said:

If it's some consolation to you @MrMarc, antibody tests (AB) that you get out of a box, even the ones administered in a clinic or pharmacy setting, aren't terribly accurate. They will give you a rough idea but your immune response is very complex.  

The out of the box (or wrapper) AB tests typically take a prick of blood from your finger and then measure your Ig response to an infection and sometimes a vaccination. Some people, and you may be one, have no Ig response. No big deal. Almost everyone who gets infected or gets the jab have some type of AB response from Ig to Memory B cells and T cells. A response in the form of any of these either in combination or in isolation can provide some level of protection from COVID.

While it is not necessary in your case, there are serologic tests from blood draws, batteries or panels, that look at a list of antibodies. I'm pretty sure if you had one of these, you'd see how robust your immune response probably was. For the average person, don't run out and ask your health care provider about getting such a test. For others, e.g., transplant or AIDs patients with poor HIV viral control, they might help in developing medical management approaches.

Here are a couple of links if you want to dig deeper. The first is "Spot see Jane" primer from the CDC. It's good. The second is more detailed but not so overwhelming that it's not readable for non-medical people who don't regularly study the human immune system.  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/what-do-antibody-tests-for-sars-cov-2-tell-us-about-immunity--67425

Thank you for the links.  I had one done at my Doctor's office with a blood draw.  I had thought it was the more complex test, but apparently it was only the IgG Chemiluminescence Immunoassay, I had thought it was the IgG and IgM test.  So maybe I have only IgM cells.  So I am fairly confidant at this point that I am just one of those people who's system is basically waiting to create the anti-bodies until they are actually needed.  Although, since the J&J is a vector vaccine, I had hoped for a strong reaction.  I have read the studies and understand the concept of the mrna residing in the T-Cells and lymph nodes.  It has also been reassuring to see the latest reports on lymph node retention of immunity, so if I do have immunity I can expect it to last longer than they initially though.  But n any event, I feel like I have a belt and suspenders.

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27 minutes ago, barbeyg said:

Back to the topic at hand, is the consensus that nothing more will happen till 8/12?  This is in a holding pattern unless the CDC revises the CSO to an acceptable one for the judge?

Given the surprise action of the 11th Circuit late Friday night, anything could happen. It's been pointed out that right now, it looks like mid to late October before the case is finalized and that would be a the USSC level and accounting for all the appeals and motions that will be filed. even that could be a stretch ...... or not if this somehow gets fast tracked and it might. I think there is a good deal of interest in this case among the federal judges who have dealt with it as it relates to the constitutional issues that have been raised by it. I'm not even hazarding a guess.

For cruising though, I think it will march onward and how quickly and painlessly that goes depends on the unknowns associated with the pandemic.

Stay positive.

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44 minutes ago, JeffB said:

Given the surprise action of the 11th Circuit late Friday night, anything could happen. It's been pointed out that right now, it looks like mid to late October before the case is finalized and that would be a the USSC level and accounting for all the appeals and motions that will be filed. even that could be a stretch ...... or not if this somehow gets fast tracked and it might. I think there is a good deal of interest in this case among the federal judges who have dealt with it as it relates to the constitutional issues that have been raised by it. I'm not even hazarding a guess.

For cruising though, I think it will march onward and how quickly and painlessly that goes depends on the unknowns associated with the pandemic.

Stay positive.

I'm wondering if it will continue on a dual track in both the Appellate and Trial Court.  Since it is over a preliminary injunction, I'm not sure it would be worth it, depending on how fast the trial can move along.  That would be really interesting to see if the Appellate Courts dealt with the injunction issue differently than a final injunction.  Personally, I think it would be a waste of time and resources at this point, just work on the trial to get a final decision that will immediately be appealed.  But then again, I was one of those that thought Florida did not have a chance of winning, and I absolutely was shocked by the Appellate Courts  reversal of itself, so my track record is not too good inthis case.

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1 hour ago, Matt said:

Florida withdraws case appeal to Supreme Court

 

FL-Vs-CDC-US-Supreme-Court-Withdraw-20210726.pdf 12.91 kB · 1 download


‘Just to clarify ….. That’s just a withdrawal of the appeal to the SC over the 11th Circuit staying the original order for Florida against the CDC, …… which is a moot point to appeal now since the 11th Circuit reversed their own original decision ….. Florida hasn’t withdrawn from anything else related to the case.

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As a result, at this time, we will continue to exercise enforcement discretion by not enforcing the requirements of CDC’s Mask Order for ships arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida, regardless of whether or not the ship has chosen to follow the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order’s public health measures on a voluntary basis.

 

I may be a bit slow on the uptake here, but it reads that the CDC is not going to be enforcing it's own mask order. 

Opinions?

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42 minutes ago, LovetoCruise87 said:

As a result, at this time, we will continue to exercise enforcement discretion by not enforcing the requirements of CDC’s Mask Order for ships arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida, regardless of whether or not the ship has chosen to follow the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order’s public health measures on a voluntary basis.

 

I may be a bit slow on the uptake here, but it reads that the CDC is not going to be enforcing it's own mask order. 

Opinions?

Basically, CDC is saying that it won't broadly enforce the general mask order that applies to all transportation (i.e., all people at all places on a ship) as long as cruise lines voluntarily follow the CSO.  If a cruise line declines to follow the CSO, then the CDC will vigorously enforce the mask requirement at all times on the non-CSO-compliant ship.

Looks to me like the CDC remains in control.  Florida has "won" by getting a preliminary injunction, but the CDC has sufficiently cowed the cruise lines that they all intend to "voluntarily" follow the CSO.  

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Late to the party. Just read today's news and the foregoing posts on it.

More an academic than a practical thought but the issue of the enforceability of the CSO came up in another thread after I questioned Matt's piece on the front page this weekend. His piece asserted that the 11th Circuit's sua sponte reversal of their previous granting of the the CDC's request for a stay of the Merryday (Middle District Court of FL) imposed preliminary injunction of the CSO rendered the CSO unenforceable. I disagreed with that view. With today's filings, that's moot. 

With FL's withdrawal of their appeal to USSC, the CSO is in fact unenforceable. The CDC acknowledges that and defeat ..... for the time being because litigation is still pending in the Merryday court.

 Not part of the CSO is federal authority to mandate masks in transportation hubs and conveyances. They are reiterating that a cruise ship is a public conveyance on which the CDC can mandate masks. That position is legally defensible. But, the little weasels that they are, are stating publicly that they won't enforce face mask mandates on cruise ships IF CRUISE LINES VOULTARILY COMPLY WITH THE CSO. That is really dangerous and faulty PH policy making that amounts to cry-baby, childish politics. Whatever, not unexpected.

So, for now, the appeals process involving the preliminary injunction has ended. FL beat that effort by the CDC. Yipee. In effect that prevents enforceability of the CSO pending the litigation of the FL v. Bacerra case to take place in his court beginning August 12th.  

It's been mentioned by @twangsterand @Matt that the lines would be foolish to abandon what amounts to full scale compliance with the CSO considering the CDC could still prevail in the Merryday trial court. Today, the CDC demonstrated they know this but instead of a polite gesture to that reality, they stick their fingers in FL's eye. It may be their last stand. At this point, I'd give the chance of the the CDC prevailing in the litigation to take place in the Merryday court as having a less than 10% chance of happening. Because of that, I could see cruise lines making contingency plans and be ready to launch them within days of a FL win in Merryday's court. What might these be:

First, and for now, the lines will probably remain in full compliance with the CSO. At least RCL will. I'm not sure about NCL, Carnival, MSC, Disney and others that are planning on sailing from FL ports. Delrio at NCL has been particularly aggravated by all this, including the Desantis ban on vaccine passports. He's a wild card in all of this, IMO.

You can review the CSO and compare it to the HSP at the links below. I feel confident that some things are going to change with a drift away from the mandates of the CSO and towards the recommendations of the HSP. I thought it was an interesting exercise to compare the two side by side. Most may not ? Here goes my take:

For starters,  if the CSO is ruled unlawful in it's entirety by a FL win in the Merryday court's litigation, and mostly transparent to cruisers, would be eliminating the onerous reporting requirements, including the No Sail Response Plans to the CDC and CDC's approval of them. These response plans involve crew members and the repeated testing and reporting of the test results - none of which comport with existing guidelines for population surveillance and are not present in any other congregate settings, e.g., concerts, casinos and more. There are much better, less expensive and effective ways of surveilling for COVID among crew members that what the CSO mandates. Here's what the HSP recommended cruise lines consider - note this isn't directive in nature like the CSO is:

One screening protocol that could be considered is testing 10% of the crew every week and oversampling the crew with high-touch/high-exposure jobs. Alternatively, cruise operators could choose to test all crew on a rotating cycle so that everyone is tested every other week.

It is likely that the color coding system imposed on the cruise lines for crew members will also disappear. This isn't a part of the CSO but it is included as reference and legally is probably an extension of what the preliminary injunction enjoins and that completion of litigation in favor of FL would eliminate in it's entirety. I'm speculating here as I'm not completely clear on how that rather complex and onerous system was developed and under what it U.S.C the CDC believed they were authorized to issue it is. That whole thing was issued as the cruise line catastrophe of March/April 2020 was unfolding. It was a total knee jerk reaction TO DO SOMETHING!!!

Another thing that will at least be eased is the requirement for the lines to develop these contracts with local agencies to receive debarked COVID cases from cruise ships making a port call to do that. Agreements are fine and the cruise lines probably would have developed those on their own without the CDC breathing down their necks. What's not fine is the burdensome review and reporting of legal contracts instead of hand-shake agreements between cruise lines and applicable shore based entities. No one involved in the debacle that was March/April 2020 wouldn't see the need to address this without being told to address it by government.

Not required by the CSO in US ports, and one of the most hazy aspects of the HSP, is screening of guests before they board. There are recommendations on how to do this and they seem to me to be a bit weak and needing updates but missing is screening guests with antigen tests - these are considered the best tool for screening when the goal is to create some type of bubble on board a cruise ship - which is what the lines are effectively trying to do.

IMO, that should be considered when viral prevalence in the US county hosting the home port is high. Foreign home ports are requiring it of the cruise lines and they are complying. Screening guests after a port call where viral prevalence is high or the government demands it for debarkation is not listed in the HSP as a recommendation. It is more difficult but it could and is being done (St. Maartin); there are other options to mitigate risks such as not making the port call or strictly controlling mobility of guests by requiring them to book curated tours from the ship, e.g., in the Caribbean  - Coz, Costa Maya, Tortola.

The CDC never mandated vaccinations for guests on board cruise ships. They did do some arm twisting with the two pathways to restart gig and that has resulted in at least 95% vax rates for lines that chose the no test sailings required pathway. CDC mandated test sailings will disappear and the cruise lines will applaud. I do expect them to do some sailings for just crew training and drills and without paying passengers or probably non-crew volunteers.

I absolutely expect the current vaccination policies involving at least a 95% vax rate for all pax 12 yo and older to be continued by the cruise lines that went that route. I believe some concessions were made by the CDC in negotiations with the lines leading up to the restart over this. Both sides seem to be happy with this outcome. I think time will tell about the continuation of cruise line vax policies that produce hybrid pax manifests, e.g., RCL. These do produce what I consider to be rather onerous protocols and extra costs for the unvaxed that may impact the bottom line. It's a hard question forlines that cater to families. IOW, as far as vaccinations are required to cruise, News at 11.

https://safety4sea.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/healthy-sail-panel-full-recommendations.pdf?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_c7648eb6fea257ff230906afde0a6a92dfa69512-1627311192-0-gqNtZGzNAiKjcnBszQii

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/CDC-Conditional-Sail-Order_10_30_2020-p.pdf

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1 hour ago, dswallow said:

Once a COVID vaccine is approved for use for 5 to 11 year-olds, the 95% vaccination rate of passengers onboard should be attainable in every sailing.

Personally, I never had a problem with the 95/98 thing. As I anticipated my first cruise in the early months of 2021 and as I felt certain that the lines would restart first in Europe and from Caribbean ports, as soon as US Citizens could travel to foreign countries and board a cruise ship sailing from there, I looked for cruises that sought to vaccinate most guests.

I chose Greece as the most likely country to allow cruise ships to sail and let Americans enter their country only if vaxed and that was before it was clear that cruise ships would be sailing from Caribbean ports. The clincher was when Celebrity clearly subsidized air fares from the US to Athens as fares were super low, lower than the cost of flying from Miami to St. Maartin, for example. I jumped on those and booked Apex. I could have sailed a week earlier on Edge out of PEV but too late, by the time that became a thing, I was already booked on Apex.

I was happy that it was reported that 98% of guests and 100% of crew were vaccinated on Apex. The antigen testing required before boarding (a Greek government requirement) made this the safest place re COVID of anywhere probably on the globe to enjoy a vacation.  

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20 minutes ago, jticarruthers said:

I'm hoping its relaxed before i cruise again in October .. I would probably book another one in between if it was ?

 

Actually, I'm hoping for (A), the federal PHE to expire or (B) The CSO does. I have no idea how the Biden administration with the PHE or the CDC with the CSO is going to play this. I think we have a glimpse of how the weaselly CDC will play it. They will brazenly fight to remain the PH authority by doing silly things. Hello ...... no one is listening to you anymore.

 What's happening now with federal PH policy isn't at all science or fact based. If it was, the federal declaration of a PHE would end. I can make a strong case for that and I find it hard to understand why conservatives in Congress aren't pressing harder for this. They call Bacerra and Walenski to testify before Congress, grill them, those two come up with the lamest reasons for their PH policy pronouncements and that's the end of it. Weird.

The CDC minions cannot justify mask mandates in transportation hubs and conveyances (cruise ships) as vax rates pass 70% and they are close. Lately, there's actually been a significant uptake in vaccinations from those who were procrastinating, too busy or unnecessarily waiting on more safety data/full FDA approval. Interviews of these folks indicates most of them admitted they were either just lazy or fearful and are neither anymore after seeing the benefits. To me, with cruise ships sailing with at least 80% vaxed pax, if the CDC was following it's own recommendations, masks would not be required for cruise ship guests. It's that simple and the CDC just continues to show it's ass.  

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1 hour ago, LovetoCruise87 said:

Wondering if Royal will make any changes to the mask policy they have in place at the moment. 

Based on what CDC says, likely not.

Evidently the mask rules are not part of the CSO.  It's the same reason you have to wear masks on airplanes today.

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I think the bottom line for the cruise business is profitability, safety and sustainability. They can ensure profits by attracting customers to ships that have proven they can offer the most risk-adverse, healthy, safe and anxiety-free experience. They sustain repeat customers and attract new business the same way. The cruise lines don’t need the CDC or any other government entity to force them to do that. It’s just business. 
Especially in today’s climate…where every incident aboard a cruise ship becomes a hysterical media circus…they need to enforce health policies and have plans and protocols in place to mitigate and prevent disease spread. They have them. Their future business depends on their being able to operate successfully while under a largely unfair media microscope…they can, and they will. 
Just my opinion.

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4 hours ago, BrianB said:

The cruise lines don’t need the CDC or any other government entity to force them to do that. It’s just business. 

Unfortunately, there are a large number of Americans who seem to to be fine with government telling them what to do or not do and handing out free stuff without any thought of the government's bank balances.... and to hell with MMT.

The argument mitigating toward CDC regulation of the cruise industry is clearly spelled out in 91 at the Court listener, ORDER resolving 25--Florida's motion for preliminary injunction.

For those of us that have been following the CDC's circus act in the FL District and US Court of Appeals, and are close to this situation, the CDC's justification for the NSO and CSO are laughable. Judge Merryday presiding over the Middle District Court of FL seems to agree with us. His ruling was a blistering rebuke of the CDC's actions involving the cruise industry.......upheld on appeal by the 11th USCOA.  

Still, we have a large group of American citizens that think what the CDC is doing, a reflection of what our government is trending toward if not already there, is fine. That's a disturbing thought. Time to push back, not only regarding the CDC's buffoonery, but also the unrestrained drift of governance in America to an unaccountable executive branch.    

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