Coronavirus: US confirms first death, several under observation

indica News Bureau-

First coronavirus death confirmed in US, travel restrictions announced affecting Iran, Italy and South Korea in response to coronavirus

“The Washington State Department of Health confirms the first U.S. death from COVID-19 has occurred here in the state of Washington.” WA dept. of health tweeted informing about the case.

Officials in Washington state say a person from the Seattle area has died of COVID-19, the first such death in the United States.

President Donald Trump described the deceased patient as a woman in her late 50s who was a high medical risk.

During a press conference, Dr. Robert Redfield with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the woman who died from the virus didn’t have a history of travel, meaning it was likely a case of “community spread.”

While this is the first death in the United States from the coronavirus, it is not the first death of an American. A 60-year-old US citizen died earlier this month in the city of Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared in late December.

Sixty-seven cases of coronavirus have been reported in the United States, among more than 85,000 globally. More than 2,900 people worldwide have died, most of them in China, CNN reported.

At least four US coronavirus patients have no travel history that would tie them to the virus, health officials say.

A woman in Oregon and a high school boy in Washington state are presumptive positives, which means their tests were conducted at local labs but the results have not yet been confirmed by the CDC.

The other two mystery cases are from California.

An older woman in Santa Clara County who had been hospitalized for a respiratory illness tested positive for the virus but had no relevant travel history or contact with anyone infected, health officials said.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission, but the extent is still not clear,” said Dr. Sara Cody, director of the county’s public health department.

The other California case is a Solano County woman who is hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center and in serious condition.

The two counties are about 90 miles apart. The Santa Clara patient had not traveled to Solano County, officials said.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following statement regarding the woman’s death:

“It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus.

“In partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Emergency Management and local and community health partners, we are strengthening our preparedness and response efforts. I am committed to keeping Washingtonians healthy, safe and informed.”

The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family and is a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past. It can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia.

Health officials think the virus spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

The outbreak began in China but has infected tens of thousands of people in more than three dozen countries, with the vast majority in mainland China.

Trump said Saturday that 22 people are battling COVID-19 in the U.S. and four others are “very ill.” He added that additional U.S. cases are likely.

The US State Department raised its travel advisory for Italy to the second-highest-level warning, Level 3: Reconsider Travel, due to the novel coronavirus.

The move comes as Italy has suffered at least 650 cases and 17 deaths from the coronavirus, with the World Health Organization saying that the country, as well as Iran and South Korea, has reached a critical point in responding to the outbreak.

“Reconsider travel to Italy due to a recent outbreak of COVID-19,” the advisory says. “There is an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 caused by a novel (new) coronavirus in Italy. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but sustained community spread has been reported in Italy.”


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