ORLANDO, Fla. – Cruises in the U.S. could start sailing this summer after more than a year of the industry’s pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to USA Today, a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was sent to the cruise industry late Wednesday to notify them of the possible restart as early as mid-July. The letter said no test cruises would be necessary if 98% of crew members and at least 95% of passengers are vaccinated.
While the shutdown continues in the U.S., Europe has been cruising since last August so Port Canaveral’s CEO said the ships are going back to work, just not here. The CDC issued a no-sail order last year and despite the order not being lifted, health officials issued new guidelines for ships earlier this month.
With the continued halt of cruises, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on April 8 that the state filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC to demand cruises begin sailing once again from Florida’s ports. Several cruise lines announced cancellations through late summer with the uncertainty of when they may be allowed to sail once again.
The push toward normalcy continues as more people get vaccinated. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced Wednesday a phased approach to roll back the mask mandate, with the first phase in effect immediately.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic. The virus is still spreading in our community. So we, collectively all of the residents of Orange County, still have this responsibility to help protect ourselves and our entire community,” Demings said.
[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida sees 5,145 new COVID-19 cases as Orange County announces plans to ease mask guidelines ]
Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:
Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on April 29.
The Florida Department of Health reported 5,700 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,228,212 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.
Florida reported 55 new virus-related deaths Thursday, bringing the death toll to 35,777. This number includes the 693 non-residents who died in Florida.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were currently 3,230 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Since last March, 90,262 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 203 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Thursday.
The percent of positive results was 5.73% Wednesday out of 99,439 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.
The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December 2020 on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.
FDOH reports 6,073,726 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.
As of Thursday, 8,740,620 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Below is the Central Florida region breakdown of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations for Thursday.
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