TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 300 Americans taken off a cruise ship in Japan have arrived in the U.S.
Also among them are the 14 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
State Department officials say only after passengers were evacuated from the Diamond Princess did they learn 14 had tested positive for the illness. They were not yet showing symptoms.
The were moved to a containment area on the evacuation plane where they were monitored.
A plane carrying about a dozen Americans who were evacuated from the quarantined cruise ship arrived in Nebraska Monday morning.
Hundreds of other American evacuees will be under a 14-day quarantine at U.S. military bases.
“They had sent a dozen emails that there wasn’t an additional quarantine. And now they just told us that we’d be quarantined 14 days,” one passenger said.
But many passengers were relieved and praised the move.
“I want to go somewhere where I can be safe. I just want to thank President Trump and the U.S. government. There’s been a lot of silence, and now we know they put together a brilliant plan,” one passenger said.
Americans Cheryl and Paul Molesky, a couple from Syracuse, New York, opted to trade one coronavirus quarantine for another, leaving the cruise ship to fly back to the U.S.
Cheryl Molesky said the rising number of patients on the ship factored into the decision.
“We are glad to be going home,” Cheryl Molesky earlier told NHK TV in Japan. “It’s just a little bit disappointing that we’ll have to go through quarantine again, and we will probably not be as comfortable as the Diamond Princess, possibly.”
She sent The Associated Press a video of her and her husband boarding the plane with other Americans.
“Well, we’re exhausted, but we’re on the plane and that’s a good feeling. Pretty miserable wearing these masks though, and everybody had to go to the bathroom on the bus,” she said.
The quarantined passengers will be monitored at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for signs of the coronavirus.
“One patient was transported to the hospital’s biocontainment unit because of a chronic condition, also experiencing mild symptoms,” said Dr. Mike Wadman. “The remainder were transported to the quarantine unit.”
The World Health Organization reports that the coronavirus, or Covid 19, is actually not as deadly as SARS or MERS viruses.
More than 80% of patients have mild disease and will recover. In about 14% of cases, the virus causes a severe disease, including pneumonia and shortness of breath. About 5% of patients have critical diseases, including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure. In 2% of reported cases, the virus is fatal.
“We need resources now to ensure countries are prepared now. We don’t know how long this window of opportunity will remain open. Let’s not squander it,” said World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO says the risk of death increases the older you are. They say they are no seeing many cases among children, and they are not sure why.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)