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Stuck on Coronavirus Ship: 'I'm Not Going Home Anytime Soon'

Meanwhile, more deaths around the world, including 2 in Florida and an Iranian lawmaker
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2020 8:15 AM CST

(Newser) – A cruise ship is languishing off the coast of California after 21 people on board were found to have contracted the coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday, per the New York Times. Two of those affected on the Grand Princess were passengers, the other 19 were crew members, per Pence, who says the ship will be brought into a noncommercial port over the weekend, where "we will be testing everyone on the ship" and "quarantining as necessary." The Los Angeles Times notes that passengers were infuriated to hear about the coronavirus cases on the ship not from their captain, but from the Pence presser. The captain says staff wasn't given advance notice of Pence's announcement, and that the ship's medical workers were now coordinating with the CDC on how to inform individuals on their status. "I'm not going home anytime soon," lamented one person on the ship. More on the coronavirus from around the world:

  • Sickness on the Nile: A dozen crew members on a cruise ship along the Nile River in Egypt have been diagnosed as having the coronavirus, and the ship with more than 150 tourists (including Americans) and crew is now in quarantine in Luxor. Egyptian health authorities say the affected crew have not yet shown symptoms, the AP reports.

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  • Deaths in the Sunshine State: The Florida Department of Health reports that two people have died in the state—one in Lee County, the other in Santa Rosa County, per ClickOrlando.com. Both patients were said to have been in their 70s; one was reported to have traveled internationally recently.
  • A fatality among lawmakers: The Tasnim news group reports that conservative MP Fatemeh Rahbar died Friday. Reuters notes Iran is one of the nations besides China that's feeling the most impact from the coronavirus. As of Friday, it had more than 4,700 reported cases. Meanwhile, Nicola Zingaretti, the head of Italy's Democratic Party, confirms he has contracted the coronavirus, per CNN.
  • Seniors, stay home: The CDC has advice for people with more years under their belts, as well as those who have severe chronic medical conditions—don't leave the house, CNN reports, or at least "stay home as much as possible."

  • Pence's balancing act: Yahoo reports on the "uncommon and uncomfortable position" of the vice president, who has to project confidence to the nation while simultaneously having to "gently" correct Trump (without irritating him) when he gets facts wrong about the contagion.
  • Keeping Trump safe: There's a "task force" in the White House dedicated to keeping the president and his staff out of harm's way from the virus, and the New York Post outlines some of the steps being taken, including tightened visitor rules and the installation of hand sanitizer stations.
  • Testing turbulence: Over at the Atlantic, Robinson Meyer and Alexis C. Madrigal present what they say is "the strongest evidence yet that America is botching coronavirus testing." Former CDC chief Thomas Frieden, who says the agency handled the Zika and H1N1 viruses well, notes: "I don't know what went wrong this time."
  • On the consumer side: "The biggest concern from the coronavirus should be the health of all people and eliminating the spread of this disease," but it also "could create a shortage on some of the most popular toys this year," a toy industry expert tells ABC Audio. One of those toys that could be affected: Hasbro's Baby Yoda products, which Yahoo notes are made in China and may face shipping delays. Meanwhile, some Costco stores are reportedly putting a temporary halt to the free food samples handed out while people shop, per USA Today and Business Insider. It's not yet clear which stores are affected.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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