Coronavirus Kills 2 Passengers on Grand Princess Cruise Ship, According to US Department of Health and Human Services

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the coronavirus has killed two passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. Earlier this month, the luxury liner docked at the Port of Oakland after more than 20 of the 3,500 passengers and crew members tested positive for coronavirus. The cruise was intended to be a 2-week trek from San Francisco to Hawaii, but had to be stopped when it was discovered that a California man had contracted the virus and died on a previous trip.

Per CNN, the department provided a statement on the tragic situation: "The staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) working with quarantined cruise ship passengers housed at Travis Air Force Base in California is deeply saddened by the recent deaths of two passengers due to complications from the coronavirus. Both passengers were on board the Grand Princess cruise ship and were transferred to area medical facilities immediately after developing COVID-19 symptoms. One person passed away March 21, and the other passed away on March 23. Grief support for both families is being provided by HHS and Princess Cruise Lines. Our heartfelt condolences to both families."

After the ship docked, Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading the government's coronavirus task force — assured the public that the SF Chronicle reported that that all of the passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship would be tested for COVID-19.

However, the SF Chronicle reports that this did not happen, as a federal health official stated that about two-thirds of the passengers opted out of testing.

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"These folks know they are in a 14-day quarantine, if they test positive they are further delayed until they test negative,” said the official, who the outlet agreed to quote anonymously, as they were not officially authorized to speak to reporters. "They don’t want to stay. They want to be released."

At this time, there is no word on how this may affect the spread of the virus.