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


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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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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?

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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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