Washington state health officials reported the first patient death from coronavirus in the United States on Saturday, according to a news release, as federal and local health officials scramble to contain the rapidly spreading disease.
Health officials in King County, Washington said they would provide an update on the patient who died at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (2100 GMT), and that the patient was among one of the state’s new cases of the disease.
“Health officials will be providing the latest updates regarding novel coronavirus cases in King County, including new people identified with the infection, one of whom died,” the news release said.
The report of the first coronavirus death in the United States capped a week of stock market upheaval and escalating concern among state and federal health officials about the spread of the disease, which has infected more than 60 people in the United States and spread across 46 countries.
Most of the U.S. cases have occurred in travelers from China, where the virus originated.
But public health officials have also identified four “presumptive” coronavirus cases believed to have emerged from community transmission of the infection, signaling a turning point in strategies needed to contain the disease in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement late on Friday citing three cases of unknown origin newly diagnosed by state public health authorities - one each in California, Oregon and Washington state.