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Why Carnival Stock Bounced Back Today

By Rich Smith – Updated Dec 28, 2021 at 6:40AM

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Omicron Covid-19 may not be nearly as bad as delta Covid-19.

What happened

After falling along with the rest of the cruise-line industry on bad omicron news yesterday, shares of cruise-giant Carnival Corporation (CCL 0.70%) bounced back Tuesday -- on more omicron news.

As of 10:30 a.m. ET, Carnival stock is up 3.7%.

Tourist on a cruise ship holding a fruity drink by the railing.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Yesterday's Covid-19 news was pretty bad, with The Washington Post reporting that omicron has evaded "beefed up coronavirus precautions" to infect dozens of passengers and crews aboard dozens of cruise ships in the Caribbean. Passengers are describing cruise ships as floating "petri dishes" and canceling future cruises, and cruise lines are altering their routes to sail around ports that won't let the ships dock with coronavirus cases aboard. 

And yet, today's news is a bit more optimistic.

With mounting evidence that omicron doesn't cause as serious a case of Covid-19 as the previous delta variant did, CNN reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have relaxed quarantine requirements for individuals exposed to the virus. Instead of quarantining for 10 days and wearing masks essentially forever, the CDC now says that people who have been exposed to Covid-19 but are asymptomatic can quarantine for only five days and wear masks for five days thereafter -- and even that's only if they're unvaccinated.

Fully vaccinated folks who have had their boosters, says the CDC, can skip quarantine entirely, and simply wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. 

Now what

Omicron's a cause for concern but not for panic," CNN quoted President Biden saying, and it seems cruise investors today are taking that advice to heart.

Granted, there seems to be some disconnect between The Washington Post's panicked reporting on omicron over the weekend and the President's (and the CDC's) advice not to panic. But if the CDC sees omicron as so unserious it feels comfortable relaxing quarantine rules in the middle of an outbreak, then omicron -- despite its easy transmissibility and rapid spread -- may not be enough to crush cruise demand after all.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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