STUDY: Coronavirus lived on Diamond Princess cruise ship for up to 17 days, CDC says

Fox News reports a new study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the coronavirus lived for up to 17 days on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, significantly longer than previous studies have suggested.

The CDC research, published on March 23, notes that the virus was identified on a number of surfaces in symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, long after they had been emptied.

“A high proportion of asymptomatic infections could partially explain the high attack rate among cruise ship passengers and crew,” the researchers wrote. “SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted.”

Two cruise ships were included in the study, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess. Both ships accounted for “more than 800 total COVID-19 cases, including 10 deaths,” the researchers noted. At the time, the two ships accounted for “approximately 17 [percent] of total reported U.S. cases.”

By March 17, there were confirmed COVID-19 cases “associated with at least 25 additional cruise ship voyages,” the researchers stated.

The experts added that the data cannot “be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” but “further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted.”

The implications of the study are far-reaching, the experts explained, noting that “outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships pose a risk for rapid spread of disease beyond the voyage,” adding that “[a]ggressive efforts are required to contain spread.”

Earlier this month, researchers found that the novel coronavirus COVID-19 can remain in the air for up to three hours, and live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, also notes that the virus can remain on copper surfaces for four hours and cardboard for up to 24 hours.