As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, more than 1,500 passengers on Carnival’s cruise ship lines have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, and at least several dozen have died from the illness. Information has emerged revealing that Carnival cruise ship execs knew earlier than most just how bad the coronavirus problem was aboard their fleet, but chose to “keep the party going for as long as possible.”
In early March, Carnival’s Grand Princess cruise ship became a fixture on cable news networks and social media around the world as frustrated and scared passengers ordered to shelter in place in their rooms livestreamed the panic taking place aboard the ship. At the time, 21 of the first 46 crew and passengers who were tested for the virus tested positive.
This was not, however, Carnival’s first outbreak, nor was it its last. In February, the Diamond Princess, another one of its ocean liners, alone held more confirmed Covid-19 cases than any entire country outside of China. Following the outbreak on the Diamond Princess, at least seven other Carnival cruise ships at sea experienced outbreaks, making the company’s Covid-19 infection and fatality rate higher than that of any other cruise operator.
As Bloomberg notes “Carnival’s ships have become a floating testament to the viciousness of the new coronavirus and have raised questions about corporate negligence and fleet safety.”
According to the CDC, Carnival’s negligent behavior helped fuel the crisis. While it would have been challenging to get everyone aboard the ships back to their home ports without infecting more people, the CDC noted that several of the plagued Carnival ships didn’t even begin their voyages until well after the company knew it was risky to do so. Indeed, according to the CDC, Carnival’s actions created a “huge strain” on the U.S. “Nobody should be going on cruise ships during this pandemic, full stop.”
The cruise line now faces a growing class action lawsuit filed by Lieff Cabraser in the Northern District of California on behalf of passengers from the Grand Princess who allege that Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines knew that the ship was infested with the potentially lethal COVID-19 or Coronavirus, but nevertheless negligently exposed more than 2,000 passengers to the virus by failing to adequately screen passengers and crew, failing to implement quarantining and social distancing procedure in a timely fashion, and failing to implement adequate disinfecting procedures.