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Setting Sail, Spreading Coronavirus: The Pandemic And The Cruise Industry

Passengers are disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California on March 10, 2020. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers are disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California on March 10, 2020. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
This article is more than 3 years old.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was an early coronavirus hot zone. We hear the story of what happened on the ship from medical first responders who hopped on board.


Taylor Dolven, Miami Herald business reporter covering the tourism industry.(@taydolven)

Dr. Michael Callahan, director of the Clinical Translation, Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Special assistant of COVID-19 response to the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Public Health. (@mgh_id)

From The Reading List

Miami Herald: "Norwegian Cruise Line warns there is ‘substantial doubt’ about its future" — "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said there is “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic and warned it may have to seek bankruptcy protection."

Miami Herald: "A third crew member from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas dies from COVID-19" — "A third crew member of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship died Sunday from COVID-19 in a Broward County hospital."

Wall Street Journal: "Cruise Ships Set Sail Knowing the Deadly Risk to Passengers and Crew" — "Early in March, the world’s cruise-ship operators had ample evidence to believe their fleet of luxury liners were incubators for the new coronavirus."

USA Today: "Royal Caribbean CEO outlines plan to get crew members home, calling it 'incredibly complex'" — "Royal Caribbean, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has made a plan to repatriate its crew members back to their respective home countries – including those from the U.S. – as the coronavirus pandemic lingers."

Oxford Journal of Travel Medicine: "COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: estimating the epidemic potential and effectiveness of public health countermeasures" — "Cruise ships carry a large number of people in confined spaces with relative homogeneous mixing. On 3 February, 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19 on cruise ship Diamond Princess was reported with 10 initial cases, following an index case on board around 21-25th January. By 4th February, public health measures such as removal and isolation of ill passengers and quarantine of non-ill passengers were implemented. By 20th February, 619 of 3700 passengers and crew (17%) were tested positive."

Washington Post: "Cruise ships kept sailing as coronavirus spread. Travelers and health experts question why." — "It was one of the first outbreaks of the coronavirus to capture global attention: For weeks in February, the cruise ship Diamond Princess was moored off the shore of Japan with hundreds of infected people aboard."

New York Times: "Cruise Lines Were Shut Out of the Stimulus. Here’s Why." — "President Trump on March 27 signed into law the $2 trillion stimulus package designed to save millions of jobs and bail out companies devastated by the coronavirus. But when the dust settled, one hard-hit sector of the travel industry was left on the sidelines: the major cruise lines."

Nature: "What the cruise-ship outbreaks reveal about COVID-19" — "When COVID-19 was detected among passengers on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, the vessel offered a rare opportunity to understand features of the new coronavirus that are hard to investigate in the wider population. Some of the first studies from the ship — where some 700 people were infected — have revealed how easily the virus spreads, provided estimates of the disease’s severity and allowed researchers to investigate the share of infections with no symptoms."

New York Times: "Carnival Plans to Sail Again in August, Maybe" — "The Carnival Corporation, the giant cruise company widely criticized for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Monday that some of its ships may begin sailing again as soon as August."

This program aired on May 6, 2020.


Dorey Scheimer Senior Editor, On Point
Dorey Scheimer is a senior editor at On Point.


Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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