Tuesday , March 2 2021

Diamond Princess cruise passengers share photos from quarantine – Business Insider – Business Insider, Business Insider




                  Spencer Fehrenbacher takes a selfie on the evacuation plane that carried Diamond Princess passengers to the US ⁠— including some who had tested positive for coronavirus.                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                    




Diamond Princess cruise ship developed one of the world’s largest outbreaks of the new coronavirus. Over 2000 passengers have gotten sick.

The ship was (quarantined) for two weeks in the port of Yokohama, Japan.

Two American graduate students who were on the Diamond Princess have been repatriated to the US and remain under federal quarantine in California, along with the other US passengers. They shared their story and photos from the quarantine and evacuation flight.

For the latest case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider’s live updates here Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

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    Spencer Fehrenbacher set sail on the Diamond Princess cruise on January . He had no idea he was about to be exposed to one of the world’s largest coronavirus outbreaks outside of China.

    After a passenger who ‘d previously disembarked tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise docked in Yokohama, Japan, and was put under quarantine. In total, more than (passengers who were onboard have now tested positive for the coronavirus. diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight

    “The quarantine process failed,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told USA Today . “I’d like to sugarcoat it and try to be diplomatic about it, but it failed. People were getting infected on that ship. Something went awry.”

    At the end of the – day quarantine, the US evacuated over (people from Japan, but 22 individuals who’d tested positive for the virus were put on the same flight as others who were healt hy. All those repatriated residents are currently completing another two-week quarantine at military bases in California and Texas. At least more of them have tested positive for the virus.

    Fehrenbacher and his friend Gordon Christoph, who was also on the cruise, spoke to Business Insider about their experience while finishing their quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in California.

    “I keep hearkening back to all these zombie movies that have been made over the last decade,” Fehrenbacher said. “Nobody wants to be deemed as infected.”

    His photos show what it was like on the quarantined cruise ship, the – hour evacuation flight to the US, and their – day isolation on the military base.


                                                                                                                 On January , Fehrenbacher and Christoph boarded the Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan for a vacation that would turn into a nightmare.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Christoph, left, and Fehrenbacher, right, in front of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                              Fehrenbacher,
    , and Christoph, , were taking a break from their graduate studies at Tianjin Foreign Studies University in Tianjin, China. Fehrenbacher grew up in Washington, Virginia, and Colorado, and Christoph is from the Chicago area. They went on the cruise with two friends who declined to be named in this story.

    “We were definitely the four youngest people on the cruise, “Christoph told Business Insider. “But it was good. We had a blast.”



                                                                                                                 Fehrenbacher said he stood very close to a woman who was clearly sick when he got that initial screening.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher in his room on the Diamond Princess during the ship’s quarantine.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    “You could hear that cough that’s deep down in your lungs. I empathized with her and felt so bad, “Fehrenbacher diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher room selfie said

  • But he said he also recalled thinking to himself, “OK, I don’t want to be in this room.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 when the ship docked in Yokohama on February 4, it was put under quarantine. Officials in hazmat suits went door-to-door with questionnaires.




                                                      Officials start quarantine processes on the Diamond Princess in Yokohama, February 4, 3123.                                                                                                      Twitter / @ DAXA_TW / Getty Images                                                                                                                                             

    Fehrenbacher said he felt “super anxious” and stayed up until 3 a.m. waiting for the knock on his door.

    He fell asleep, then woke back up when the staff came around at 4 a.m. They questioned him and took his temperature. The following evening, given his recent fever, they came back and took a swab from him to send off for testing.

                                                                                                                                                                Diamond Princess quarantine                                                                    


    by the following morning, 18 people on the ship had tested positive for the virus. Ambulances took them to nearby hospitals.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      In this image from a video, a passenger gets a DNA swab test in his cabin room on the Diamond Princess, February 23, 3123.                                                                                                      Cheryl and Paul Molesky / Associated Press                                                                                                                                             

    The ship started out with 3, 889 people on board, both passengers and crew. That number would dwindle in the coming weeks as hundreds more people tested positive for the virus. diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight

    Dr. Norio Ohmagari, director of Japan’s Disease Control and Prevention Center, diamond princess coronavirus told CNN that the quarantine “may not have been perfect” and that “scientifically speaking,” crew members should have been isolated just like passengers.

    “We suspected some of the cruise staff may have already been infected, but … they had to operate the cruise ship itself , they had to see the passengers, they had to deliver the meals, “Ohmagari added. “So that may have caused some close contact with the cruise ship workers and also the passengers.”



    Fehrenbacher said it felt like there was a “wall for information” as he waited for his test results. They never came. He eventually found out he’d tested negative, but said “it was just a process of elimination.”                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher stands in front of the balcony door in his cabin.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    On February 7, the ship’s captain and CNN correspondents confirmed that all the tests taken on the ship had been processed.

    “It was like, ok well if I’m still here tomorrow, then I’m negative,” Fehrenbacher said.

    Nobody came to his door to take him off the ship. diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight

    Japan’s Ministry of Health, which oversaw the quarantine, did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment in time for publication.

    Princess Cruises has promised

  • to refund “full cruise fare for all guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                 “Being somebody who doesn’t normally spend $ 57 on a bottle of wine, that was a really nice treat in the middle of a quarantine, “Fehrenbacher said.




                                                      Fehrenbacher, left, and Christoph, right, drink beer with two friends who were staying in the cabin next to theirs.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    After talking with other passengers, though, Fehrenbacher and Christoph decided to cut back on drinking to keep their immune systems in working order.

                                                                                                                                                                Spencer Fehrenbacher gordon christoph diamond princess                                                                    

                                                                                                                 To pass the time, Fehrenbacher read a science-fiction trilogy and watched videos that his mom sent him with messages from friends and family.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher on the cabin’s balcony.                                                                                                      Gordon Christoph / Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    “It just feels good to see familiar faces and hear those voices,” Fehrenbacher said at the time. . “When I’m feeling good about the whole thing, it’s super encouraging.”

    But some nights he went to bed “just thinking about the worst-case scenario of everything, “he said, adding that the quarantine was” a rollercoaster of ups and downs. ”

                                                                                                                                                                diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher ship balcony                                                                    


    “The first eight days of the quarantine on the cruise ship, my roommate and I were both very focused on remaining supportive, remaining optimistic, “Fehrenbacher said.



                                                      Christoph waves at a boat passing below their balcony on the Diamond Princess.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    They shared a balcony with the two other friends traveling with them. The group spent nights playing Cards Against Humanity and other games.

    Fehrenbacher said he also spent a lot of time watching TV and laying in the sun. He talked to his dad about three to five times each day.

    He said he started boiling the silverware that came wrapped in a napkin with each meal.

                                                                                                                                                                Spencer Fehrenbacher diamond princess                                                                    

                                                                                                                 During a live TV interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC News, Fehrenbacher realized that authorities had stopped updating passengers on the boat’s case count.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      On live TV, Fehrenbacher reacts to news that another 83 People on the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.                                                                                                        spencer fehrenbacher quarantine live tv national news                                                     Screenshot from Youtube / CBC News                                                       


    As Fehrenbacher sat in front of his laptop, the (CBC) (reporter presented him with an update on the cruise ship outbreak: 91 new people had tested positive.

    It was the first time Fehrenbacher had heard the number.

    “It was just like a hammer in the face,” he said. “I felt like an absolute buffoon in that moment.”

    Before that, Fehrenbacher had been championing the quarantine efforts of Princess Cruises and the Japanese government. He’d even written an (op-ed) about it for USA Today.

    “They were not being completely forthcoming anymore. And that was a very disappointing experience, “he said.


  •                                                                                         spencer fehrenbacher quarantine live tv national news                                                                    


    The next day, Fehrenbacher and Christoph left the ship with 432 other evacuees, bound for the US. Once back on US soil, they’d face another – day quarantine.                                                                                                                                                             


                                                      Passengers disembark from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama Port, Japan, February , .                                                                                                                                                             Kyodo via Reuters                                                       

  • After the US quarantine, Fehrenbacher planned to go to his parents’ home in Canada.

    He said he and Cristoph were both hesitant about leaving their rooms and sharing a plane with the other passengers they’d been avoiding for two weeks.



    The evacuees boarded buses to take them to Haneda airport – a – minute drive, by Fehrenbacher’s estimate. But he said they sat in the buses for hours, with people coughing all around them.


    diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                      Fehrenbacher sat at the back of the evacuation bus.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    Fehrenbacher said some people tried to hide their coughs, though many had a lung-deep, rasping cough that indicates more than a scratchy throat.

    The CDC did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.


                                                                                                                 “All you can do is kind” of try to get as small as you can and hope that that respirator is fully sealed around your face, “Fehrenbacher said.



    diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                      A bus believed to carry the US Diamond Princess passengers leaves the Yokohama pier, February , . One person, right, appears not to be following following mask mask.                                                                                                                                                             Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters                                                       

  • After a few hours, a woman stood up at the front of the bus, called for attention, and explained the proper protocols for wearing an N 289 respirator mask, Fehrenbacher said.

    After she sat down, Fehrenbacher said he heard someone behind him mutter “mask nazi “under their breath.

    ” You could tell that the flip – between being a passenger who’s catered to on a luxury cruise line, versus an evacuee being rescued in the middle of an outbreak – that switch hadn’t flipped for quite a few people, “Fehrenbacher said.

    “Some people were very, very critical, very, very frustrated, extremely upset with the circumstances of the bus ride,” Christoph added.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


    more than two hours in, a man asked about using the bathroom, Fehrenbacher said. There were none on the bus.



                                                      A passenger speaks to officials about using the bathroom.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    He said the man was first told that he would have to wait, so he sat down. But as more time passed, the man went back to the driver and insisted. Other people on the bus began scolding the driver, Fehrenbacher said.

    Eventually, workers in hazmat suits took the man off the bus to use a bathroom. Others did the same.


                                                                                                                 Before they could load onto the cargo planes, officials had to return everyone’s passports, which was “its own ordeal,” Christoph said.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher stands in front of the cargo plane that carried US evacuees to Travis Air Force Base in California.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    The process seemed disorganized, Fehrenbacher said – workers in hazmat suits handed passports to people at the front of the bus and let passengers pass them in a line to their owners at the back. He worried about all the hands touching each passport.


                                                                                                                 On the flight, passengers could take from boxes of supplies like face masks and water bottles as they boarded the plane.




                                                      Passengers look at supplies available on the evacuation flight.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    Officials also provided snacks, but Fehrenbacher said he did not eat on the flight for fear of exposing himself to the virus.

                                                                                                                                         diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight boarding plane                                                                    

                                                                                                                 Fehrenbacher said he slept for most of the flight. He covered his eyes with a surgical mask that he’d been handed at the front of plane.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Christoph took this photo of Fehrenbacher on the plane.                                                                                                      Gordon Christoph / Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    Christoph said he also slept for most of the flight, and hoped his glasses would provide some eye protection .

                                                                                                                                                                diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher evacuation flight check in                                                                    

                                                                                                                 The plane landed at Travis Air Force Base in California, where the evacuees would complete their next quarantine.




                                                      Fehrenbacher and Christoph on the evacuation flight.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    Fehrenbacher said he later realized that a woman sitting behind him had also tested positive for the virus: When the plane landed, he said, a CDC official told her she would be continuing to Omaha, Nebraska – where the CDC sent the infected Diamond Princess evacuees.

    The CDC did not respond to a request for comment about the woman’s case in time for publication.

                                                                                                                                         diamond princess Spencer Fehrenbacher plane masks                                                                    

                                                                                                                 “Every single person, first thing” they said was ‘welcome home,’ ‘welcome home, sir,’ “Fehrenbacher said of his arrival.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher and Christoph after arriving at Travis Air Force Base.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    “You hear ‘welcome home’ 334 – plus times in a situation like that, it’s very emotional. It’s very heartwarming, “he said. “It kind of makes it a little more clear how dramatic the situation that you’ve just gone through actually is.”


                                                                                            Spencer Fehrenbacher gordon christoph diamond princess                                                                    

                                                                                                                 when he got to the apartment where he’d be staying while quarantined, Fehrenbacher said, the first thing he did was shower and request disinfecting wipes to clean his luggage.



                                                      The Westwind Inn lodging facility at Travis Air Force Base, where Diamond Princess evacuees are housed.                                                                                                      Nicholas Pilch / U.S. Air Force via AP                                                                                                                                             

    “I used probably half a bar of soap trying to just feel clean again,” he said, adding, “I was still concerned that, ok, let’s hope that I don’t have this virus. Because every time I had to clear my lungs I was worried that I had it.”


                                                                     Spencer Fehrenbacher gordon christoph diamond princess evacuation                                                                    

                                                                                                                 The morning everyone got their next test results, Fehrenbacher said, CDC workers went apartment to apartment with a – gallon trash can, stacks of gowns and gloves, a big bottle of hand sanitizer, and manila envelopes.                                                                                                                                                            



                                                      A medical professional at a preliminary testing facility at the National Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea on February , .                                                                                                      Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images                                                                                                                                             

    “They go into an apartment, they come out a couple minutes later, and they would kind of help one another take the gown off, throw it in the trash, take the gloves off, put hand sanitizer on, and then put new gloves on, put another gown on, and take the trash can and walk to the next apartment, “he said.



    They told Fehrenbacher his coronavirus test had come back negative. “I sat down on the ottoman behind me, and I just felt an overwhelming feeling of wanting to burst into tears,” he said.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      A group of ambulances from the Solano EMS Cooperative stage at the visitor center at Travis Air Force Base, adjacent to Fairfield, California, February 24, 3123.                                                                                                      Hector Amezcua / AP Photo                                                                                                                                             

    They read him a script that said he still needed to monitor his symptoms, then moved on.

    “It took a few minutes to process. My dad was the first person that I called,” Fehrenbacher said.

    He added, “the times that I’ve cried throughout most of the quarantine were times when I didn’t really ever expect it to happen.


                                                                                                                 Fehrenbacher and Christoph are no longer confined to their room, so they spend much of the day outside on the military base, as do many of the other people under quarantine there.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Evacuees can walk the lawns of their quarantine area at Travis Air Force Base.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    People walk around the lawns, play soccer, sunbathe, and do calisthenics, he said. Everybody wears face masks and tries to stay 6 feet apart.

    Fehrenbacher said he has about 416 pages of his last book left. He still spends lots of time with Christoph.

    “We went on a late-night walk, which is quite the experience because the whole yard is lit by these giant floodlights, “he said. “There’s at least three or four cars and trucks with US marshals sitting in them to keep watch around the perimeter.”


    “data-slide-title=” “[It’s] somewhere between a zombie movie and summer camp,” Fehrenbacher said. “I don’t know if this is awesome or if this is terrifying.” “Id=” its-somewhere-between-a-zombie-movie-and-summer-camp-fehrenbacher-said-i-dont-know-if -this-is-awesome-or-if-this-is-terrifying – 52 “>                                                                    

                                                                                                                 “[It’s] somewhere between a zombie movie and summer camp, “Fehrenbacher said. “I don’t know if this is awesome or if this is terrifying.”




                                                      Fehrenbacher in the quarantine area at Travis Air Force Base.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    He said he and Christoph go into the laundry rooms, which are often filled with extra supplies, to see what kind of loot they can find. Sometimes there are bottles of lotion or shampoo, cases of soda, or boxes of cookies.

    “The best thing that I’ve gotten at this point was a bottle of hand sanitizer,” Fehrenbacher said.

                                                                                                                                                                Spencer Fehrenbacher travis air force base                                                                    

                                                                                                                 “I’m kind of in a limbo stage right now, where I can’t go back to China for the foreseeable future, and beyond that I have to find a place to stay, “Christoph said.                                                                                                                                                            


                                                      Fehrenbacher and Christoph on the porches of their quarantine apartments at Travis Air Force Base. They now have separate apartments.                                                                                                      Spencer Fehrenbacher                                                                                                                                             

    “The last 28 – some days quarantined on a ship and then here, I guess it’s just kind of a free meal and a free bed, “he added.

    Fehrenbacher said he’s excited to be with his family again, but nervous about what the interaction with customs will be like. He’s preparing himself for the chance that Canadian officials will ask him to complete another days of isolation.

    “If there’s one thing I’m learning in this quarantine, it’s that you just have to be ok with the absolute unexpected happening and just having to roll with the punches, “he said.

    (Isaac Scher contributed reporting.)

    (Read more: How the ‘failed ‘quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship started with coronavirus cases and ended with more than

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