A man who died last week after collapsing on a United Airlines flight had the coronavirus, according to a coroner’s report. The Dec. 14 flight was initially headed to Los Angeles from Orlando, Florida, but rerouted to New Orleans after the man collapsed. He was declared dead at a nearby hospital. A week later a Louisiana coroner determined the man died from acute respiratory failure and COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began contacting passengers a few days after the incident. Officials found out the man’s wife knew he had been experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms before boarding the plane even though he hadn’t yet tested positive. In a pre-flight checklist, the passenger didn’t disclose his symptoms, which included loss of smell and difficulty breathing. During the flight an announcement over the speaker system asked for any medical professionals present to help the man. A nurse and two others performed chest compressions on the man for 45 minutes, passengers told The Washington Post.