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As COVID-19 spread, despair grew on the Grand Princess

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Michael Dorety was a retired 68-year-old Dallas firefighter who had the long-standing mental habit of calculating catastrophes, the better to avoid them. He sat by exit doors. He refused to book 11th-floor hotel rooms, because engine ladders only reached 10. He taught his kids to avoid escalators, which could snag shoelaces.

Yet Dorety showed no alarm when he and his wife, Susan, climbed aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship at Pier 27 in San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 21, joining some 2,500 passengers and 1,100 crew members. It was supposed to be a 15-day cruise to Hawaii, with a brief stop in Ensenada.

The Texas couple had crossed the oceans on dozens of cruises, and this trip was meant to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

His habit of…



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