Carnival Cruise Passenger Dies of Covid Amid Uptick in Cases

As the extremely contagious Delta variant surges internationally, the well being and security protocols established for cruise ships are being put to the check. Over two weeks in late July and early August, 27 coronavirus infections have been recognized aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship crusing out of Galveston, Texas.

One of these contaminated, a passenger, later died.

It was the very best quantity of instances aboard a ship reported since June, when cruises restarted in the Caribbean and United States, and the primary demise.

The passenger and 26 crew members have been instantly remoted after testing optimistic for the virus. Contact tracing and additional testing was carried out, with no new instances reported by Aug. 11, when the ship arrived on the port of Belize City on the northeastern coast of Central America, Carnival mentioned.

Though the ship sailed out of Texas, which bans companies from requiring vaccinations, greater than 96 % of passengers have been vaccinated and all however one crew member was absolutely vaccinated, in response to the Belize tourism board.

Most contaminated crew members have been both asymptomatic or skilled delicate signs of the virus, however Marilyn Tackett, a 77-year-old passenger from Oklahoma, was admitted to the hospital in Belize and placed on a ventilator after experiencing respiratory issues. Days later, she was evacuated to a hospital in Tulsa the place she obtained therapy, however on Aug. 14 her situation worsened, and she or he died, in response to a press release issued by her household on a crowdfunding page set up to help pay for her care.

Ms. Tackett’s family declined to comment on the incident.

“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,” the Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement. The cruise line said that it was highly unlikely Ms. Tackett contracted the coronavirus aboard the ship, which left Galveston on July 31, and that she had received expert medical care onboard before being evacuated.

The cruise line did not test vaccinated passengers before they embarked for the cruise.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new advisory, warning people with increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 to avoid travel on cruise ships, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Carnival is not the only cruise line to have seen an uptick in cases. Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean had six guests test positive onboard its Adventure of the Seas ship.

The companies have responded to the recent increase in cases by introducing pre-departure testing requirements for all passengers. Carnival also added a mask mandate on Aug. 7 for all vaccinated and unvaccinated guests in indoor areas and banned smoking in the casino.

Some cruise lines say passengers have canceled amid concerns about the risks of the Delta variant, but many sailings are fully booked through the rest of year because of pent-up demand.

Many cruise enthusiasts with upcoming trips believe that cruise ships are one of the safest ways to travel during the pandemic because of the high percentage of vaccinated passengers and crew, added testing requirements and stringent health and safety measures enforced on board.

“It’s very comforting boarding a cruise ship knowing that most people are vaccinated and everyone is tested,” said Aidan Alexander, 62, an avid cruiser from Florida who has eight sailings booked through 2022. “When you get on a plane or stay in a hotel you don’t know anyone’s vaccination or Covid status and that makes it very difficult to relax and unwind.”

John Ioannidis, an epidemiology professor at Stanford University, disputes that notion. In an airport, on a plane or in a hotel, he said, “you only get exposed for a few hours, whereas on a cruise ship you could get exposed for many days and weeks. It’s a kind of cumulative exposure.”

But he said the health and safety protocols implemented by cruise companies will likely avert the major disasters and deaths that were seen in the initial stages of the pandemic last year.

“I think that it’s fair to say that it’s likely that the outbreaks will not be left to grow to the same extent as they did in the outbreaks in the first wave of the pandemic,” he said.

Christina Perez, 56, a passenger who was on board the Carnival Vista when the virus cases were identified earlier this month, said the cruise line dealt with the situation well and she felt safe throughout her trip.

“It was still an amazing vacation. The crew took great care of us and kept us informed and managed to contain the situation very quickly,” Ms. Perez said in a telephone interview.

“I think it’s getting risker to travel now with the new variants, even on cruises, but at least if there is an outbreak on a cruise ship there is a plan and you know you’ll be taken care of,” she said.

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