After escaping having any coronavirus-related deaths for weeks, the seemingly inevitable happened — the United States suffered its first COVID-19 fatality. On Saturday afternoon, the Department of Health for Washington state confirmed that a U.S. citizen had died from the coronavirus.
The victim is reportedly a woman from Washington state. On Friday, Washington state health officials said that there were two confirmed cases, including a man in his 50s in King County, who had “underlying health conditions,” according to Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, Washington.
The victim allegedly came to EvergreenHealth Medical Center with severe respiratory issues. At a press conference, President Donald Trump described the victim as a “medically high risk” person in their 50s from Washington state.
On Friday, Washington state health officials announced that there were two coronavirus cases. One was a woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to Daegu, South Korea, between February 7-23. She returned to work in Seattle after her international trip, but then was in isolation at home after suffering from symptoms on Tuesday.
South Korea, which has been a hotbed for the deadly disease. South Korea has 3,150 confirmed cases of coronavirus, only second to China’s 79,257.
The other case in Washington state is a 15-year-old student of Jackson High School in Snohomish County, near Seattle, who has no history of travel. The student fell ill on Monday with “body aches, chills and a headache,” according to health officials. The student felt better and returned to school. However, on Friday, the student tested positive for coronavirus.
The Henry M. Jackson High School is currently being disinfected and will be closed until March 3.
The Governor of Washington state released the following statement about the death:
“It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus. In partnership with the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Department of Emergency Management and local and community health partners, we are strengthening our preparedness and response efforts. I am committed to keeping Washingtonians healthy, safe and informed.”
Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency because of coronavirus. The declaration allows “state agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.”
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state. Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation’s first case appeared in Snohomish County. Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a worldwide pandemic.”
The latest coronavirus update shows that there are more than 85,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and at least 2,933 confirmed deaths. There are currently 68 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the United States.
President Donald Trump and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a press conference at the White House on Saturday afternoon. President Trump implemented an expansion of travel restrictions. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the new coronavirus task force, announced the new provisions to tackle the lethal virus.
“First, the President authorized action today to add additional travel restrictions on Iran. Iran is already under a travel ban, but we’re are expanding existing travel restrictions to include any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days,” the VP said.
Iran has the fourth-most confirmed cases with 593; however, the country’s death rate of the disease is reported to be extraordinarily high. The Iranian government reported 34 deaths. Sources in the country’s health system told BBC that there have been “at least 210 people in Iran have died as a result of the new coronavirus disease.”
Afghanistan, Armenia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkey have all have closed their borders with Iran, making Azerbaijan the only neighboring nation to not close their border with Iran.
Pence also recommended that Americans refrain from visiting regions of Italy and South Korea impacted by the infectious coronavirus. Italy has over 1,100 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths.
Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus, making it the first case in sub-Saharan Africa. Mexico’s health secretary said that there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country. The Republic of Ireland announced its first case of COVID-19.
The CDC issued a “Warning Level 3” to traveling to China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and warned everyone to “avoid nonessential travel” to these nations.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the “Highest level of alert” for the coronavirus for the entire planet.
The U.S. Surgeon General advised Americans to stop buying medical masks. “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
The novel coronavirus outbreak is expected to cost the airline industry nearly $30 billion.
Major stock indexes continued their horrendous week because of coronavirus fears. U.S. markets suffered their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a loss of more than 3,500 for the week. In five days, $3.18 trillion was lost in market value. The S&P 500 is down 12% for the week.
Some of the richest people in the world saw their net worths shrink after the dreadful financial week. “The world’s three richest people — Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault — incurred the biggest losses, with their combined wealth dropping about $30 billion,” according to Bloomberg. Elon Musk experienced the fourth-largest weekly loss when the Tesla CEO saw $9 billion disappear.