Photo Credit: View of sunset from inside the airplane through the window of wing over mountains in Spain
A Woman Died On A Plane From COVID, Passengers Weren't Notified
When Spirit Airlines found out that a Texas woman died of the novel coronavirus during a flight in July, the airline said it alerted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spirit told the Washington Post that it received acknowledgment from the CDC, but the airline never received guidance from the health agency on alerting passengers who might have been exposed.
It wasn’t until the multiple news reports in October when passengers discovered they could have been exposed to the virus.
Here’s where things get complicated.
The CDC said it has no record of being contacted by Spirit.
Meanwhile, at least one flight attendant on-board was never notified that the passenger tested positive for the cornonavirus.
“The lack of a federal COVID-19 plan for aviation has been a problem throughout the pandemic,” said Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants. said. “As a result of this inaction, there is a patchwork of policies and procedures that inevitably leaves gaps.”
State health officials in New Mexico, where the woman was declared dead after the Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Albuquerque, said staff learned within two days that the passenger tested positive for the coronavirus and alerted first responders who were on the scene.
The autopsy report was not completed until Sept. 22 and the public wasn’t alerted until Oct. 18 when Dallas County added the woman to its death total.
The woman who died was reportedly 38 years old with a healthy history of asthma and obesity. As Travel Noire previously reported, the woman — who was only identified as a resident of Garland, was on her way home from Las Vegas. She boarded Spirit Flight 208 at McCarran International Airport on the evening of July 24.
It remains unclear whether the woman knew she was infected with the virus or where she was exposed.