With the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus spreading, 21 passengers and crew members who tested positive for the virus aboard the cruise ship Grand Princess became a first major test for the Trump administration's emergency management skills during a pandemic.
The ship was held from docking for over two weeks past its planned conclusion on February 21 as the California National Guard provided test kits to passengers. According to some accounts, the passengers had even begun fighting over rotten food.
According to one passenger, President Donald Trump's management of the situation earned an "F."
On Monday morning, Grand Princess passenger Michael Bell told the New York Daily News:
"We think our great leader didn't want this ship to come ashore because his numbers would go bad."
"Hey, how about our health?"
Grand Princess cruise ship passengers will finally disembark in Oakland. At least 21 people aboard have tested pos… https://t.co/7X9Eu5zAbl— New York Daily News (@New York Daily News) 1583772556.0
"What if Ivanka was on this ship? What would he do?"
“What if Ivanka was on this ship? What would [Trump] do?” Michael Bell, 71, stranded for days on the Grand Princes… https://t.co/xvlcfhzGQS— New York Daily News (@New York Daily News) 1583774377.0
If Ivanka had been on that ship Trump would have air lifted her off in the first 15 minutes of passengers getting v… https://t.co/YwdXCiLu6F— NoelCaslerComedy (@NoelCaslerComedy) 1583780665.0
Nowadays I hear the phrase “A brief word about the Grand Princess…” in a press conference and simply assume it’s Ivanka’s new title.— RonEhmke (@RonEhmke) 1583793859.0
When they brought up the Grand Princess in this press conference, I thought they were talking about Ivanka.— Artless Bastard (@Artless Bastard) 1583793775.0
"Now a word on the Grand Princess." Leave Ivanka out of it, Pence.— Austin Smith (@Austin Smith) 1583793704.0
Bell noted the ship had been circling San Francisco Bay for some time, awaiting a decision on what to do about the passengers and crew who tested positive for COVID-19.
But the 71 year-old retiree had his own suggestions.
"They could have taken the 21 people and helicoptered them out. They could have gotten medical help right away."
"I honestly don't know why they've waited this long to get those people off the boat. They could have done it except for political B.S. from our government."
The President's own comments lent credence to Bell's complaints.
Trump says he'd rather the passengers of the Grand Princess stay on the ship, because he doesn't want the number of… https://t.co/uDnxP6yvd8— Steven Portnoy (@Steven Portnoy) 1583533065.0
of course, it was at that same news conference Trump infamously said, “I like the numbers being where they are,” in… https://t.co/XHyWtzI8vS— 🗽𝐈𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐃𝐫𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐝*ᴶᵘˢᵗⁱᶜᵉ (@🗽𝐈𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐃𝐫𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐝*ᴶᵘˢᵗⁱᶜᵉ) 1583794486.0
Despite his displeasure over how things were handled, Bell said:
"I am just trying to go with the flow and be as cooperative as I can. It's a terrible situation."
Bell noted that by Monday morning, after being at sea for several additional days that food was getting scarce.
"It's clear the food is running out. We did not expect to be out beyond Saturday. We're several days over that. They're trying what they can to make it good. The crew is doing their best, working many more hours than they're used to."
The ship, carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 countries finally docked around noon PST in Oakland, California. Those requiring medical attention for any reason were allowed to disembark first.
Infected California residents were transported to a federally run facility within the state for the required quarantine or treatment process. Others were transported out of state. Those who passed health screenings were allowed to leave.