Two people who were on the quarantined Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan have died from Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Japanese tourists were the first of those infected on the ship to pass away. This comes as more questions are raised about whether the quarantine was truly the best course of action for the cruise ship. The Washington Post writes:
A Japanese man and woman, both said to be in their 80s, were among more than 600 passengers who contracted the disease while on board the Diamond Princess. They left the ship last week and were hospitalized, but they died Thursday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported. A day earlier, an infectious disease specialist slammed officials for failing to observe proper quarantine practices on the vessel.
Buzzfeed adds that “cruise ships can’t filter air well enough to stop viruses:”
“Get off that ship, there are a lot better places to isolate people,” Purdue University’s Qingyan Chen, an expert on ventilation during virus outbreaks, told BuzzFeed News. “In ships you cannot filter the air well enough to stop viruses.”
“At this point, he added, the entire ventilation system is likely filled with the virus, even if they were to switch to circulating only fresh air. “It’s really kind of too late for the Diamond Princess, right now,” he said.
The Washington Post is also reporting today that the 14 passengers who tested positive for Coronavirus should not have been allowed to fly home this past Sunday with more than 300 other passengers. The newspaper reports:
In Washington, where it was still Sunday afternoon, a fierce debate broke out: The State Department and a top Trump administration health official wanted to forge ahead. The infected passengers had no symptoms and could be segregated on the plane in a plastic-lined enclosure. But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagreed, contending they could still spread the virus. The CDC believed the 14 should not be flown back with uninfected passengers.
The CDC lost the battle and the passengers all flew on the same plane.
Only after the planes landed in the United States, did the > 300 Americans learn that some passengers had tested positive. "I think those people should not have been allowed on the plane. They should have been transferred to medical facilities in Japan," Vana Mendizabal said.
— LenaSun (@bylenasun) February 20, 2020
Watch more from NBC News above.