(CMR) A passenger who it is believed became infected with the coronavirus while on the Carnival Vista to Belize died recently after she was transferred from a hospital in the Caribbean country to the US.
Marilyn Tackett (77), a retired Sunday school teacher from Oklahoma, sailed from Galveston, Texas, on the Carnival Vista on July 31, 2021, with her family. It was reportedly her first cruise and trip outside of the US.
Reports are that when the Carnival ship reached Roatan on August 3, Tackett went ashore on an excursion. However, the next day when the ship sailed to Belize, Tackett did not feel well and declined to go on the excursion which her children had chosen. When they returned to the ship, her children noticed that she was having great difficulty breathing.
The ship doctor administered a COVID test which was positive. The doctor then informed the family that she needed to be on a ventilator and then arranged for Tackett to be transferred to a hospital in Belize, Cruise Law News reported.
The hospital admitted her after her family was able to come up with a payment of $5000. Tackett’s insurance company did not cover medical care outside of the US or the emergency flight back home. On August 6th, her granddaughter created a Go Fund Me page for her grandmother to try and raise $30,000 in order for her to be medically evacuated by air to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to Cruise Law News, an air ambulance eventually flew Tackett back to Oklahoma, and she was admitted to intensive care and again placed on a ventilator. She died on August 14th.
Tackett's death has raised concerns regarding the public disclosure of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships. There is no legal requirement for either the CDC or the cruise lines to disclose the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships.
CDC discloses the color status (green, orange, or yellow), which acknowledges whether a particular ship has had at least one positive COVID-19 case in the last week.