U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York, is questioning whether the Trump administration interfered with the Centers for Disease Control’s decision to extend the no-sail order into 2021.
Numerous press reports have suggested that the CDC originally wanted to extend the order until Feb. 15, 2021, but was blocked by the Trump administration and extended for just another month to Oct. 31, 2020.
Maloney, chair of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, requested additional documents and communications from the CDC about the timing and implementation of the no-sail order.
“I was alarmed to read recent press reports that allege the CDC wanted to extend the no-sail order to February 15, 2021, but after intervention by the White House, the extension was shortened to October 31, 2020,” Maloney wrote, citing a Sept. 29 story by Axios and other newspapers. “According to these press reports, the president’s Coronavirus Task Force made this decision to shorten the extension of the no-sail order at a meeting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, after input from the cruise line industry.”
Maloney questioned whether the CDC’s science-based advice was ignored.
“These ships shouldn’t leave port until we know passengers and crew will be safe and the ships won’t again become global vectors of disease,” Maloney wrote. “The mistakes made at the beginning of this pandemic cost lives and caused chaos on board these ships. Our investigation into the failure to keep travelers on cruise lines safe continues. If we’re going to fight this virus and win the battle, we cannot make the same mistakes, and we cannot afford another coronavirus outbreak.”
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