First Known American Coronavirus Death Confirmed in China
Officials announced Saturday that the first death of an American from the coronavirus has taken place in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said that the woman, who was 60, died Thursday. No other information was released, according to CNN.
On Friday, 86 new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 722. Another 3,399 cases were reported, bringing the overall total to 34,546 people infected with the virus, according to China’s National Health Commission.
A Japanese national in China also died, becoming the first Japanese citizen whose death was linked to the virus.
Many Americans in Wuhan have been evacuated. It was unclear why the American victim who died was not among them. Some U.S. nationals who evacuated have shown signs of fever and are in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in California, according to The Washington Post.
To date, there have been 12 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S.
In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined 138 cases in China, the study’s authors concluded that 41 percent of the individuals infected caught the disease in a hospital, and noted one case in which one individual infected 14 people, including 10 health care workers.
In its attempt to deal with the disease, China has imposed travel restrictions in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, that impact about 60 million people.
However, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the U.S. is still waiting for China to get back to it on a Jan. 6 offer to have experts from the Centers for Disease Control assist Chinese authorities.
“It’s up to the Chinese,” he said. “We continue to expect fully that President Xi will accept our offer. We’re ready and willing and able to go.”
As the world sought to deal with the disease, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged that only those in dire need of surgical masks seek to buy them.
“There are now depleted stockpiles and backlogs of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said it was “inappropriate” for anyone not sick or a health care worker to wear a mask.
“There is a moral issue here,” he said.
Dr. Mark Siegel, a Fox News medical consultant, agreed that masks are not needed in the U.S. as of this moment, according to Fox News.
“People are walking down the street with masks about a virus that literally only has infected 12 people” in the U.S, he said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
He had harsh words for China, though, saying its inability to stop the spread of the virus is causing a “greater risk to the world.”
“I think we’re going to see a worldwide pandemic from this. I don’t think we are going to see anything here of the level of what is happening there, though,” Siegel said.
“We have to get boots on the ground, though, over in China, which hasn’t happened yet,” he said.
On Saturday, French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said France confirmed five new cases of the coronavirus, making its total number of confirmed cases now 11, according to The New York Times.
Buzyn said the cases were linked to an infected British citizen who was in Singapore in January before going to France.
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