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Hundreds of Americans Coming Home, Finally Evacuated from Virus-Infested Cruise Ship

Stewardesses take temperatures of passengers as a preventive measure for the coronavirus on an Air China flight from Melbourne to Beijing (AP photo)
Stewardesses take temperatures of passengers as a preventive measure for the coronavirus on an Air China flight from Melbourne to Beijing (AP photo/Andy Wong)

The deadly COVID-19 disease is still paralyzing China, shutting down entire cities, and health officials fear enough hasn't been done to keep this novel coronavirus from becoming a pandemic.

The US mainland has only suffered minimal impact from the disease - mainly from people who visited the epicenter of the outbreak in China. But a large group of Americans has been directly affected after being stuck on a cruise ship in Japan where the coronavirus was spreading.

Now two charter flights carrying 340 Americans from that quarantined cruise ship have landed in the United States where they'll remain quarantined but under better conditions. At least 40 Americans who tested positive are staying in Japan to receive treatment.

And The New York Times reports 14 passengers who were believed to have been well before they were evacuated from the ship Monday were found to be infected right before boarding the planes.  

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health warned that if leaders can't get control of the situation, it will be a pandemic.

On CBS News' Face the Nation, Fauci said, "Technically speaking, the WHO wouldn't be calling this a global pandemic, but it certainly is on the verge of that happening reasonably soon unless containment is more successful than it is right now."

It's causing concern around the world. In Jerusalem, rabbis recently gathered at the Western Wall for special prayers to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Roughly 760 million Chinese people, half the nation's population, are under lockdown.

And the Chinese government claims the number of new cases has dropped to a three-week low, with the death toll set at 1,800 and more than 70,000 cases reported worldwide. But is the actual number much higher?

The Hudson Institute's Gen. Robert S. Spaulding (USAF Ret.) said, "The greater concern just to this coronavirus alone is the secrecy and control of the Chinese Communist Party. This goes all the way back to December - didn't really start coming out until January. By then the epidemic had spread."

Chinese authorities now admit that President Xi was aware of the coronavirus outbreak nearly two weeks before he first spoke publicly about it and the government was still playing down its dangers.


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