UPDATE: The CDC has issued the following clarification on the study via Twitter after its release.
"A recent documented SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found on surfaces in cruise ship cabins up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess, before disinfection occurred.Live, infectious virus was NOT found. The authors’ finding does not indicate SARS-CoV-2 was transmitted from these surfaces."
A New England Journal of Medicine study shows infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive for only up to 72 hrs on plastic & steel & up to 24 hrs on cardboard. https://bit.ly/2QL1cIZ.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) – A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examination of the COVID-19 outbreak on cruise ships reports the virus was identified on surfaces of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers for up to 17 days.
The report of public health responses to the 19 outbreaks on cruise ships was published on Tuesday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
The report examined 800 positive cases of COVID-19 cases during the outbreaks on cruise ships that have so far led to 10 deaths. The CDC states cruise ships are "often settings for outbreaks" due to their closed environment and contact between people from multiple countries.
As researchers continue to develop more information on the virus, the CDC report found the virus was found on a "variety of surfaces" well after passengers had vacated. " 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," the report states.
While researchers cannot determine if affected passengers acquired the virus from surfaces, they are calling for a further study of COVID-19 transmission aboard cruise ships.
The report found cases linked with cruise travel have been reported to the CDC in at least 15 states and secondary community-acquired cases have been linked to returning travelers.