A total of 328 Americans from the quarantined ship Diamond Princess are back on US soil with most being quarantined in California and Texas. Another 14 people are being held at the National Quarantine Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In accommodations described as:
“very nice rooms with WiFi, TV and a small refrigerator – a lot of the amenities at hotels but with engineering controls” to prevent contaminated air from escaping.
The Princess Cruises ship was carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew when it set sail and was quarantined in Japan after 10 cases of coronavirus were reported Feb. 4. However the original plan of quarantining the passengers on the ship for 14 days has gone terribly wrong.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said even after quarantining passengers to their rooms, the virus continued to spread throughout the ship.
“As it turned out, that was very ineffective in preventing spread on the ship,” Fauci told the USA TODAY Editorial Board and reporters Monday. Every hour, another four or five people were being infected.
“The quarantine process failed,” Fauci said. “I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry in the process of the quarantining on that ship. I don’t know what it was, but a lot of people got infected on that ship.”
Passengers were instructed to stay in their suites or cabins during the quarantine. Those in interior cabins with no window or outdoor access were able to go on deck for up to an hour and a half but had to stay at least 3 feet from fellow passengers, Matt Smith, a family law attorney from Sacramento, California, told USA TODAY a few days into the quarantine. Meals were dropped off at the door by the ship’s crew.
I am stunned that medical professionals continue to discount the likelihood that this virus is airborne. Just as MERS and SARS are. It probably moved through the ship’s ventilation system — which is a forced air system with fans.
Any sailor or Marine will tell you that the air circulation on a ship is pretty extensive. It has to be in order to avoid the accumulation of CO2 and oily vapors from machinery spaces.
Complacency is going to get people killed.
You need to assume it is airborne until proven it isn’t! Not the other way around.