What the Diamond Princess taught the world about covid-19
04 May 2020
The situation was widely lamented. A Japanese epidemiologist described conditions aboard the Diamond Princess as “completely chaotic.”2 The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) questioned the efficacy of the onboard lockdown, and infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, who is advising the White House on the covid-19 pandemic, said the vessel’s quarantine process had “failed.”3
But since the international spotlight moved away from the stricken cruise ship, data have been published that tell a slightly different story. It seems that the lockdown did have a measurable effect on restricting contagion. And there are signs that the ship’s ventilation and wastewater systems did not worsen the spread of disease.
Questions over whether the situation could have been better managed remain. However, the Diamond Princess is emerging as an unfortunate but informative experiment that taught scientists much about covid-19. Those lessons could help authorities aiming to stave off the disease in other places where it spreads easily, such as nursing homes and prisons.