A new study recently published in Nature Medicine found that antibodies to COVID-19 may only last two to three months in the human body. Antibodies are protective proteins that the body makes in response to being exposed to an infection. This timeframe is especially true for individuals who had an asymptomatic infection, meaning they didn’t have any symptoms while having an active infection.
The study compared equal number of people with symptoms versus those who didn’t. They found that individuals with asymptomatic infections have a weaker response to the virus. So, there bodies lost antibodies sooner than those who had symptoms. The researchers did say that this finding doesn’t mean that people are more likely to be infected a second time because even low levels of antibodies could still be protective.
As scientists are delving deeper into how the virus impacts the body, corporations are trying to figure out their path forward. One of the hardest hit by the pandemic is the cruise industry. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get any better any time soon. Just today, the lobby group Cruise Lines International Association announced that its members will cancel all US cruises through the middle of September. Companies that are included in this are Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Costa, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara Club, Norwegian, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, MSC, Disney Cruises, Crystal and Virgin. The companies initially had planned on resuming operations in late July because the ban put in place by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was set to expire.
This announcement comes as over 42,000 crew members are still stuck at sea without pay. They’ve been there since March 13th when the industry shut down. In addition, many of the cruise lines are losing significant amounts of money. For instance, Carnival reported their second quarter losses and they’re burning through $650 million per month. In order to help the company survive, they planning on getting rid of six of their ships in the next three months.
Earlier this month, the CDC revealed a new grading system for cruise ships in the US. If there has been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or similar illness for 28 days, then the ship gets a green designation. If there are one or more cases pending confirmation within the past 28 days, the ship is given a yellow grade. If there have been one or more confirmed cases, it’s assigned a red level. In addition, health experts are recommending that cruises don’t exceed 50% capacity, test passengers before allowing them to board, stay within 500 miles of shore and provide more medical staff and ventilators to each ship. Right now, it’s too early to know what measures each cruise line will put in place.