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Why can you get on a plane but not a cruise ship during the pandemic?

We talked with two doctors from USF about the differences between boarding a plane and boarding a cruise ship.

TAMPA, Fla. — Carnival Cruise Lines is canceling all North American cruises through September 30 because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

But, you can still get on a plane. Why is that? 

We talked with two doctors from the University of South Florida, who said the big takeaways are business and the size and amount of people.

Dr. Jay Wolfson says there are substantive differences between airplane and cruise ship travel that relates to Covid-19 risk. For example, the number of people on a ship compared to a 747 plane.

He says to simply look at the behaviors we've seen at beaches and bars. There are lots of recreation areas on ships.

There are more sanitation and air circulation challenges on a ship. You also have to consider the size of the quarters and the length of time people spend on a ship compared to a flight.

"Maintaining them on the surface, but also maintaining the air quality around you. And the challenge is proximity. As we know the real challenge is the number of people in an area where the air quality may not be moving around a lot for longer periods of time," he said.

The other thing to look at is why people travel. 

We talked with Dr. Jill Roberts with USF. She says the difference is work. 

People need to take flights to go to different job opportunities whereas cruises are optional travel. 

"Even we can think about people that have been moved around the country as part of the response to COVID. So there are medical professionals that have gone from region to region on flights. So it is really necessary we maintain flights for certain reasons," she said.

She says to also think about the fact you could be out on a cruise ship and stuck there for weeks if there are cases. 

Planes have no choice but to land. 

In both cases, there are things like crowded terminals and waiting lines. The doctors say both need to be managed. 

RELATED: Carnival Cruise Line cancels sailings through end of September

RELATED: Cruise industry suspends sailings from US ports through September

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