First US death from coronavirus confirmed in Washington, state of emergency declared
Written by Jeff Ramella on March 3, 2020
By Evan Diaz
The first person to die from causes linked to the coronavirus in the United States has been confirmed by the Washington State government. Governor Jay Inslee affirmed the report while also declaring a state of emergency in order to combat the spreading of the virus.
The news comes as concern about the new virus within the United States has risen amongst the public and government officials, with President Donald Trump launching a Coronavirus Task Force headed by Vice President Mike Pence. The man was in his 50s with underlying health conditions and had not traveled outside of the country nor had contact with any known virus carriers. The man died at the EvergreenHealth Medical Facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland.
The new coronavirus, officially named the COVID-19 virus, was initially discovered in the city of Wuhan located in China. As of March 1st, 2020, the virus has spread across the globe and has infiltrated 7 US states, according to the CDC. Including the individual who died from the virus, there are over 60 people in the United States who have either been confirmed or suspected positive for the virus. On a global scale, the total infected and death counts are at over 86,000 infected and over 2,900 dead according to the World Health Organization, with the vast majority of both in China.
While the overall risk for infection remains low as of now in the United States, the main risk is focused around the West Coast. California, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington have all had confirmed infections. Some of the confirmed cases were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was originally quarantined in Japan after one individual had contracted the virus. The heavily criticized quarantine ended up leaving 705 passengers as of now with the COVID-19 virus on a ship with 428 Americans on board.
In response to the death, President Donald Trump stated to the public that there is “no reason to panic” while also indicating an increased restriction on travel to infected countries. President Trump said that there would be an Iranian travel ban in response to the new coronavirus as well as a warning to potential travelers of South Korea and Italy. Trump’s press conference comes just a day after stating that the danger of the virus was being overblown by political enemies, going as far as calling the virus a potential hoax. Trump urged the public to remain calm and also made comments about the global market plunge, expressing his confidence in a rebound from a historic drop in stock values such as the Dow and the S&P 500. He put emphasis on Americans to not change their daily lives and said that the country was “super prepared” for a larger outbreak in the country, adding that he believed the country would be in “very good shape” in combating the virus.