First Death From Coronavirus In US Confirmed By Washington Health Department

Providence Regional Medical Center where, according to the Washington State Department of Health, the first known person infected with 2019 novel coronavirus is being observed, is seen in Everett, Washington on Janua... Providence Regional Medical Center where, according to the Washington State Department of Health, the first known person infected with 2019 novel coronavirus is being observed, is seen in Everett, Washington on January 21, 2020. (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 29, 2020 1:53 p.m.
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One person who was infected with COVID-19, aka the coronavirus, in Washington state’s King County has died, the Washington Department of Health and President Donald Trump reported on Saturday.

Trump announced the development in a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to lead the administration’s response to the disease, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, and director of National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Trump described the deceased patient as a “medically high-risk patient in her late 50s,” had passed away overnight, and that four other patients were “very ill.”

Part of the administration’s response to the virus involves containment by further extending travel bans or issuing travel advisories with regards to Iran, Italy, and South Korea, which have the highest number of cases outside of China, where the disease originated.

Pence announced that the administration would extend its Iran travel ban to include “any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days.”

The administration will also increase the travel advisory on “specific regions” in Italy and South Korea to level four, which is the highest level advisory, according to Pence.

The threat of the coronavirus “remains low,” the vice president said, and Redfield added that the American public “needs to go on with their normal lives.”

Trump told reporters that more cases of the virus in the U.S. are “likely,” but that “healthy individuals should be able to fully recover.”

The President also said he will meet with “the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world” at the White House to discuss a vaccine on Monday.

“And they’ve already started working on it, developing very rapidly a vaccine for the virus, to combat the virus,” he said.

Though Trump referred to the patient as female, it is unclear what the person’s gender was due to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) original statement that used a male pronoun for the patient.

“It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19,” Inslee said. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

The statement was later amended to “their family and friends.”

Jay Nixon, the public information officer at the Washington Department of Health, told TPM he was unable to give further details about the patient before his department’s press conference at 4 PM EST.

This story has been updated.

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