“Oh my God. This is real,” Laurie Miller said. She then ordered another helping of the ice cream she was eating in one of the ship’s dining areas, Bloomberg reported. Debbi Loftus, a 61-year-old passenger, told Bloomberg that passengers flooded the buffet and stores on board to score last-minute deals. “I just thought, ‘Oh, crap, the ukulele concert is going to be canceled,’” she admitted to Bloomberg. Before long, hallways and elevators were packed with passengers trying to get to their rooms, passenger Karen Dever said. “So much for social distancing,” she told Bloomberg.
When the first 46 passengers and crew members on the Grand Princess were tested for the coronavirus, 21 of them were positive, Bloomberg reported. President Donald Trump made sure everyone stayed on the ship to ensure the passengers on board didn’t inflate the coronavirus count on land. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship,” Trump said, according to Bloomberg.
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With passengers still out at sea as of early April, Donald called the business’ reaction reasonable in his interview with Bloomberg. “This is a generational global event—it’s unprecedented,” he told the news site. Donald said if there was a failure, it’s one that government officials created. “Each ship is a mini-city,” he told Bloomberg, and Carnival shouldn’t be harshly judged before “analyzing what New York did to deal with the crisis, what the vice president’s task force did, what the Italians, Chinese, South Koreans, and Japanese did,” he said. “We’re a small part of the real story,” he added. “We’re being pulled along by it.”
Cindy Friedman, the epidemiologist who leads the CDC's cruise task force, called BS on the company. COVID-19 has led to more deaths from April 6 to April 12 than cancer, according to The Washington Post. Killing 12,392 people, the virus caused more deaths than any other disease in the United States except for heart disease, which killed 12,626 people, the Post reported.
Friedman told Bloomberg that Carnival helped fuel the virus' spread, sending passengers out to sea even after the company knew of the risks in doing so. “I have a hard time believing they’re just a victim of happenstance,” Friedman told Bloomberg.
As late as March 27, Jan Swartz, president of Carnival’s Princess Cruises division, told Bloomberg that four additional people had died and more than 135 passengers were sick on Carnival's Zaandam ship. “The crew are sick and getting sicker. It’s a matter of time before it gets to us and we’re infected,” ship passenger Yadira Garza told Bloomberg. “For some people, it will be the last trip of their lives.”