This calamity comes after a similar scenario involving another Princess cruise, the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan last month. That cruise became the largest cluster of infections outside of China—more than 700 infections and eight deaths—many of which, it seems, might have been avoided had corporate heads and government officials mounted a more timely and serious response.

But US agencies didn’t agree on the best way to handle the 328 Americans—which ultimately included 14 who tested positive for the virus—who had been quarantined on the ship. The State Department wanted to repatriate the passengers; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against it. The State Department won, and it turned out that infected American passengers were sent on buses to the airport before their test results were known.

Trump, a noted germaphobe (who nonetheless continues to shake hands), was furious at the result, and he’s not likely to be happy about whatever transpires in California, either. One of his chief concerns, apparently, is how letting people off the ship would up the count of Covid-19 cases on US soil—and how that might reflect upon his administration.

“I like the numbers being where they are,” he said on Friday. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

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