Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County in Washington said the patient was a man in his 50s with underlying health conditions. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is no evidence the deceased contracted the virus through travel, leading to speculaion of a domestic “community spread” of the disease, a new phase for the United States that began this week on the West Coast.
Health officials in Washington further disclosed that 27 patients and 25 staff members in a long-term care center in Washington have symptoms associated with COVID-19. The Life Care Center of Kirkland said in a statement that new patients and visitors were being turned away, and patients and staff “with symptoms or who were potentially exposed are quarantined.”
President Donald Trump and US officials previously said in a press briefing that the late coronavirus patient was a woman. A senior administration official later blamed the mix up on Redfield, who tweeted later on Saturday that the “CDC erroneously identified the patient as a female” during a briefing with Trump and Pence.
Shortly after the announcement of the Washington death, President Donald Trump held a White House news conference to announce that the United States is issuing more travel restrictions and warnings to help prevent spread of the virus. He also said he is meeting with pharmaceutical executives to discuss an approach towards a coronavirus vaccine.
“We respectfully ask the media and politicians and everybody else involved not do anything to incite the panic, because there’s no reason to panic at all.”
On Sunday, Australia and Thailand also recorded their first fatalities from coronavirus. A 78-year-old Australian man died after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan last month.
Thailand, which has had 42 cases of the virus, said a 35-year-old man who died was also suffering from dengue fever.
More than 85,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in 57 countries around the world and almost 3,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.