State Department reportedly overruled CDC to fly coronavirus-infected Americans home

Kathryn Krawczyk

Fourteen Americans who contracted coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan were transported back to the U.S. against the wishes of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Washington Post reports.

A total of 328 Americans were quarantined on the Diamond Princess ship for weeks before test results showed 14 of them had the COVID-19 virus, the Post writes. The U.S. State Department had said no one with the infection would be allowed on a flight. But it fought with the CDC to transport the infected people, who weren't showing symptoms, back anyway on the same flight and separated from those not infected by a "plastic-lined enclosure," the Post writes. State eventually won, but the CDC reportedly refused to puts its name on the press release announcing the flight.

More than 600 people on the ship contracted the coronavirus, and two passengers, both in their 80s, died on Thursday. South Korea also reported its first death from the disease on Thursday as case numbers there swelled by about two-thirds, per the Post. China reported new coronavirus numbers of Wednesday that seem to show spread of the infection is slowing, with 394 new infections and 136 deaths added in the past week, CBS News reports.

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