U.S. Politicians Turn Up Pressure on CDC’s Cruise Involvement

CDC Building

On Thursday, the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) called on the leaders of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to deliver COVID-related records they requested more than seven months ago relating to the cruise industry.

“The documents are a key part of the Committee’s ongoing oversight efforts regarding the actions taken by both the Carnival Corporation and the CDC in response to the threat of COVID-19 on cruise ships,” said a statement.

In their letters to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield, Chairs DeFazio and Maloney stated that the lack of response was completely unacceptable, writing: “Months ago, our staff was told that CDC/HHS had identified an estimated 7,000 documents that were potentially responsive to our May 1, 2020, records request. …. To date, the CDC/HHS has provided the Committee with a single records production on July 10, 2020, five months ago, of just 180 pages of records.”

The letter notes “expressing concern that Carnival and its nine affiliated cruise lines were ignoring the public health threat of the pandemic in its public-facing marketing materials,” and that Chairs DeFazio and Maloney initiated a records request May 1, 2020, seeking documents from not only Carnival Corporation, but also the CDC and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Subcommittee Chair Maloney followed up with the CDC on October 13, 2020, requesting additional records after press reports alleged the White House intervened on the CDC’s effort to extend the ‘No Sail Order’ for the cruise industry.

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