GALVESTON, Texas – A passenger who sailed aboard the Carnival Vista out of Galveston, Texas, in late July has died of COVID-19, the cruise line confirmed Tuesday.
Marilyn Tackett, 77, of Oklahoma was put on a ventilator during a scheduled stop in Belize after experiencing respiratory complications. She was evacuated to a Tulsa hospital days later but died Aug. 14, KTRK reported, citing an online fundraising campaign established by Tackett’s family.
Tackett was the only passenger among 2,895 guests on the Carnival Cruise Line vessel to test positive for COVID-19, while 26 of the ship’s 1,441 crew members tested positive.
According to The Washington Post, passengers and crew aboard several ships leaving the United States or the Caribbean have tested positive for the virus since June, but the majority of those cases have been mild or asymptomatic. Meanwhile, the vast majority of passengers currently sailing or booked to do so are vaccinated against COVID-19 in a bid to sidestep the pandemic-fueled outbreaks and deaths that grounded the industry in early 2020, the outlet reported.
Carnival is pushing back against what the company characterized as “disinformation,” saying in a statement to ABC News that Tackett “almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship,” KTRK reported.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 ships either carrying passengers in the U.S. or planning to dock in the U.S. had reported COVID-19 cases in the past seven days as of Friday, the Post reported.
“Unfortunately, no venue on land or at sea is COVID-free right now, but we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit and have not hesitated to act quickly and go beyond existing public health guidelines,” Carnival said in its statement.
Meanwhile, tourism officials in Belize confirmed that at the time the infections were reported, 99.98% of the Carnival Vista’s crew and 96.5% of its passengers were vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Carnival Cruise Lines resumed sailings from Galveston on July 3 with the requirement that guests be fully vaccinated. Last month, officials said they would allow some unvaccinated guests on board ships, including children under the age of 12, with pre-cruise and pre-embarkation testing requirements, along with an additional fee to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and other health measures.
Click here to read the full Carnival statement.
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