This time, however, there may be some ground to the president’s worries. The way the evacuation was conducted seems to point more to a rushed addressing of the discontent of the passengers (who had been kept in very uncomfortable conditions on the ship) than due diligence.

Anne Schuchat, the CDC executive who passionately advised against the repatriation, thought the safer course of action would have been keeping the infected people in Japan, as it had initially been considered for the whole group of US passengers onboard the cruise ship. The State Department, on the other hand, trusted the precautions put in place on the plane, and considered the journey back to the US safe: The infected passengers would be separated in an enclosure in the plane.

The CDC’s concern was shared by infectious disease experts, but the Department of Health and Human Services supported the State Department. Eventually, all passengers boarded the plane and were flown to the US. The CDC said it wished to be left out from official communications on the decision, for fear of raising more concerns with its position against it.

Curiously, it was Trump’s people from the State and Health departments who made the decision that Trump later considered reckless—a move that raised concerns amongst experts that the administration may not be prepared to handle a health emergency.

More test results on the people repatriated have come back positive since they reached the US. That suggests that even if the 14 people were cordoned off in the plane, there were others traveling with healthy passengers who had been infected. The passengers will all be in quarantine for 14 days in the US, between military bases and treatment centers.

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