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Emergency workers exit the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, in February. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Traces of the novel coronavirus were found in the cabins on the Diamond Princess cruise ship up to 17 days after passengers left, a study published by the CDC Monday found.

Why it matters: Axios health care editor Sam Baker notes: "The virus lives a long time on hard surfaces, and that's another reason to be wary about quickly reopening businesses like bars, restaurants and gyms while the virus is still spreading quickly."

  • Per the CDC, "Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted."
COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread."
— CDC statement in study

How it works: The study examined coronavirus outbreaks aboard the Carnival-owned cruise ships the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, last month, and the Grand Princess, which was stranded off the San Francisco coast for several days.

What they found: Per the CDC, "By March 17, confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been associated with at least 25 additional cruise ship voyages."

  • 46.5% of cases from the Diamond Princess were asymptomatic when tested, which could "partially explain the high attack rate among cruise ship passengers and crew," the CDC said. The virus infected 712 of the 3,711 people aboard the ship — 19.2% of those on board.
  • On the Grand Princess, 19 crew members and two passengers initially tested positive for the virus. The CDC study states the ship's outbreak was linked to 78 cases as of Saturday.

Between the lines: Tara Smith, an infectious disease professor and epidemiologist, reacted to the study by noting in a Twitter thread that the "asymptomatic" number was given at the time of testing. "They didn't report follow-up to show how many eventually developed symptoms," Smith said. "So many possibly still in incubation period."

  • "In the Discussion they add this: 'Available statistical models of the Diamond Princess outbreak suggest that 17.9% of infected persons never developed symptoms' — so based on models, and not the 'half of those tested were asymptomatic' that I've already seen reported," Smith added.

The bottom line: Per Smith, while SARS-CoV-2 RNA was "identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic & asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated" and before the vessel had been fully disinfected, "viral RNA doesn't necessarily mean live virus was present."

Of note: A study published last Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that SARS-CoV-2 stays viable in the air for several hours and can last on surfaces for up to three days.

Flashback: The outbreak aboard the Diamond Princess prompted countries including the U.S. to evacuate citizens who were aboard the ship.

  • An elderly patient tested positive for COVID-19 after disembarking from the Grand Princess.

Read the CDC study:

Go deeper: Carnival CEO defends coronavirus response

Go deeper

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.