The Ruby Princess cruise ship, once known as the “Plague Ship” for its superspreading role early in the pandemic, arrived at the Port of San Francisco with positive cases Sunday, but left for Hawaii later in the day.
There is a temptation to say “Here we go again” when a cruise ship with multiple passengers infected with COVID-19 arrives here in San Francisco, dropping off more positive cases here in the Bay Area. This temptation is particularly strong when it’s the same goddamned cruise ship that has had outbreaks and docked here before, and early in the pandemic, was described as a “deathtrap” for its role in a massive Australian COVID-19 outbreak.
But dock here that ship did, as the Chronicle reports that the Ruby Princess arrived in SF Sunday with “multiple passengers and crew members who tested positive for the coronavirus.” The cruise line did not disclose how many people were infected. According to KTVU, the ship’s parent company Carnival Corporation was “arranging private transportation and private accommodations on shore for COVID-positive passengers or crew to use for quarantine.”
But the ship is now gone again. NBC Bay Area reports that it “left San Francisco Sunday evening after being delayed for hours because of multiple COVID-19 cases on board.” The vessel is now off to Hawaii.
“As with all Princess itineraries, this cruise is operated as a vaccinated cruise, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the cruise company said in a statement to the Chronicle. “Guests and crew vaccination rates were at 100%.”
The statement added that infected passengers “will either return home with private transportation or will quarantine at hotels ashore who coordinated in advance,” and insisted that the positive cases were being handled in compliance with CDC and San Francisco guidelines.
Obviously we are now in a different phase of COVID-19, where people are largely vaccinated, and cases tend to be asymptomatic or mild. But this particular ship has a reputation for poor compliance. A class action lawsuit against Carnival Corp. has 2,700 passengers and/or family members of the deceased that is currently moving forward, after mediation failed, and that trial is expected to begin in October.
Image: Ivan T. via Wikimedia Commons