White House Reportedly Overruled CDC’s Attempt to Extend ‘No-sail Order’ Into 2021

The White House blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s attempt to extend its “No-Sail Order” on cruise ships in U.S. waters until next year, according to reports.



a large ship in the water: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The order, which prevents “cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction” from sailing, has been in effect since March, and extended multiple times, was set to expire on Thursday. While Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, pushed to once again extend it until February 2021, he was overruled, Axios first reported, citing a conversation in the White House Situation Room.



a large ship in the water: The CDC intended to push the order to February of next year.


© Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
The CDC intended to push the order to February of next year.

Instead, per Axios, the Trump administration plans to extend the order to October 31 — a date that aligns with the decision by the Cruise Lines International Association to postpone ocean sailings in U.S. waters until at least November. The CLIA represents major cruise lines around the world.

Republican politicians in Florida, where a large contingent of the U.S. cruise industry is based, and cruise industry lobbyists have called for an end to the “No-Sail Order,” The New York Times reported. The White House denied the move was political, Axios noted.

“The president, the vice president, and the task force follow the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country,” White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern told Axios. “It is not about politics. It is about saving lives.”

While cruise ships may be able to launch in November, several lines have suspended sailings into next year, including Carnival Cruise Line, which canceled cruises until the spring and predicted it won’t see full passenger capacity until 2022, and Princess Cruises, which has canceled two of its 2021 itineraries.

When cruises do resume, masks will be mandatory and all passengers and crew will be tested for COVID-19 before getting on board, CLIA mandated last month. Cruise ships will also have to designate cabins for isolation in case an outbreak does occur.

In addition, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line submitted their health and safety recommendations to the CDC earlier this month, much of which overlapped with CLIA’s, including screening guests and crew for potential COVID-19 infections before embarkation.

Cruising has been on hold in the U.S., but sailings have already resumed in Europe and Taiwan. While largely successful, it has not been without some onboard outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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Trump claims White House can overrule FDA’s attempt to toughen guidelines for coronavirus vaccine

President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that the White House could override the US Food and Drug Administration if the agency released tougher standards for the authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine, casting such a move as “political.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie


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His comments come as the FDA considers new Covid-19 vaccine guidelines that would likely push an authorization beyond Election Day, according to three sources familiar with the situation. That timeline would dash Trump’s hopes of a pre-election authorization, having repeatedly said the vaccine could be ready by November 3.

“We’re looking at that and that has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it,” the President said of the new FDA guidelines at a White House news conference. “That sounds like a political move.”

The FDA “respectfully” declined to comment on Trump’s claims. But generally speaking, agency guidelines do go through the White House Office of Management and Budget review process, an FDA official told CNN Wednesday.

In the meantime, the President’s comments are sure to fuel new unease in a vaccine process that was already being greeted with skepticism by many Americans in polls. A lack of trust in the program is a nightmare scenario, public health experts say, since a vaccine is the best hope of eventually ending the pandemic and restoring normal life.

Earlier Wednesday, the commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, made a commitment to America that the “FDA will not authorize or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families.”

“FDA will not authorize or approve any Covid-19 vaccine before it has met the agency’s rigorous expectations for safety and effectiveness. Decisions to authorize or approve any such vaccine or therapeutic will be made by the dedicated career staff at FDA, through our thorough review processes, and science will guide our decisions,” Hahn specifically promised the Senate Health Committee.

“FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that,” he added.

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that he trusts the FDA to apply the highest safety and efficacy standards to all the coronavirus vaccines, though he conceded that he wasn’t sure if the FDA or White House had the final say on vaccine approval.

“I am not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar,” he said. “I actually don’t know the answer to that.”

Two former FDA commissioners previously told CNN that while they think it’s very unlikely that Trump could pressure scientists into authorizing or approving a Covid-19 vaccine, it’s possible. The Department of Health and Human Services has in the past overruled the FDA’s recommendations on medications.

Despite reassurances from federal officials, there are fears that the typical pathway for review and approval of the Covid-19 vaccine will be eschewed, or at least bent, because of political pressure.

“What I’m concerned about is there could be a gray zone where a vaccine looks partially protective and it

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