A 77-year-old Oklahoma woman, a retired Sunday School teacher, who tested positive on a trip to Belize with her family with the Carnival Vista cruise ship which sailed out of Galveston, Texas, died after being hospitalised and placed on a ventilator. Marilyn Tackett was excited to go on her first trip outside the US. Twenty-six crew members also tested positive and were isolated. The ship had returned to Texas August 7 and set sail again on another weeklong cruise the same day. “We never suggested our ships would be COVID free,” says a Carnival exec. “But we designed our protocols to meet and exceed the guidelines of the CDC.” It wasn’t clear if the woman who died was vaccinated or not. The CDC last week warned anyone at risk for severe illness from COVID to avoid cruises even if they’re vaccinated. Carnival tells that Tackett “almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship.”
Cruises restarted in the US and Caribbean in June. Carnival has updated its vaccination policy so that starting on Saturday, most guests will be required to be vaccinated and must also present negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding a ship. It also implemented a mask mandate on Aug. 7 for all passengers in indoor areas.