In late January, the British Cruise ship Diamond Princess embarked on a tour of East Asia. Everything went smoothly until an elderly passenger tested positive for Covid-19. On Feb. 4, Japanese authorities decided to screen and test more passengers on the ship, and what they discovered was terrifying.
Out of the 3,500 people later quarantined on the Diamond Princess, a staggering 542 were confirmed to have the new disease. This was, at the time, the highest infection density outside Wuhan, China with one Japanese expert calling the ship a, quote “coronavirus mill.”
The Diamond Princess story made international headlines. So it may come as a surprise to learn that many people are still going on cruises. Their reckless decision puts all of us in danger. And the Trump administration needs to do something about it.
The Wuhan coronavirus has spread out of East Asia to become what is arguably a global pandemic. There are now over 100,000 confirmed cases of the deadly infection with outbreaks in every single continent outside of Antarctica. Yet despite this dangerous environment, people are still exposing themselves to extreme risk by going on international cruises.
The Grand Princess cruise ship is currently in limbo off the coast of California. Out of the 46 people tested on the ship, a full 21 have already tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
As testing ramps up, we could be looking at a repeat of the Diamond Princess disaster as coronavirus spreads throughout the ship’s 3,500 tightly-packed passengers.
Many on Twitter think this situation is unacceptable.
A Twitter user named Laker Granny bashed Princess Cruise’s decision to carry passengers. She claims lawsuits could cost the company dearly.
But Wendell H makes a more critical point.
Instead of focusing on the cruise company, he points towards passengers who decide to go on these voyages despite the clear risks to their health.
Wendell is right.
Going on an international cruise amid a massive viral outbreak is a strange decision. It puts the whole world in danger because it gives the virus the perfect conditions to spread, and it strains the government’s healthcare resources.
It might take government intervention to bring common sense to the situation.
Sometimes people make stupid decisions, that’s part of life. But with a global pandemic beginning, it may be time for the government to intervene and stop people from going on these dangerous cruises.
Unlike China, America isn’t an authoritarian country where the government can arbitrarily supersede individual rights for the greater good. But according to a report from Reuters, the Trump administration is considering its options.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the coronavirus response, states the following:
Cruise ships represent a unique challenge for health officials. We’re going to be working closely with some great American companies in the cruise line industry to enhance and strengthen the screening procedures
Unnamed officials are also reported to be mulling possible travel restrictions related to cruises. Hopefully, these can go into effect before the next coronavirus cruise ship of doom sets sail.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.