Washington State Announces First Coronavirus Death In The US: Live Updates

Saturday, February 29, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 02/29/2020

Update (1250ET): Minutes after President Trump announced his 130pmET press conference to discuss the latest coronavirus developments, Washington State health officials have reported the first death from the coronavirus in the US.

No details yet, but it’s probably reasonable to suspect that the death is the state’s latest case (remember, it was also home to the first confirmed case in the US, a case that reportedly recovered) of ‘unkown origin’ which it announced last night.

Of course, it’s also possible that this could have been a post-mortem confirmation…meaning it would also constitute a new case.

Washington State health officials are also planning to hold a press conference shortly.

So much for routing all information through the VP’s office…

In Italy, officials confirmed that the number of confirmed cases has passed 1,000. The number of confirmed deaths in the country climbed to 21 on Friday.

The US isn’t the only country struggling with a rash of unexplained cases. The same phenomenon has frustrated public health officials in Japan, Italy and the UK.

The BBC reports that the UK’s 20th case is also believed to be the first person who was infected inside the UK, since they hadn’t traveled abroad recently.

As we wait to learn more, here’s some more information about the latest FDA announcement, courtesy of the NYT’s virus live feed:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Saturday that it was authorizing American laboratories to develop their own coronavirus tests, which should significantly increase the country’s testing capacity.

The effect could be rapid. About 80 labs and private companies have applied for emergency approval for tests they have already created. If they have submitted evidence that the tests work, the labs and companies will be able to use them immediately, rather than wait for the F.D.A. to complete reviews and issue approvals.

“This action today reflects our public health commitment to addressing critical public health needs and rapidly responding and adapting to this dynamic and evolving situation,” the F.D.A.’s commissioner, Stephen M. Hahn, said in a statement.

Experts have been frustrated with the limited availability of coronavirus tests in the U.S., which until now could only be provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Broader testing will enable more rapid detection and isolation of people who have the coronavirus to help contain the spread of disease.

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Update (1235ET): President Trump will hold another press conference to discuss “the latest CoronaVirus developments” at 1:30pm.

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The unceasing 24/7 flood of coronavirus news yielded some disturbing developments last night as public health officials in Oregon and Washington State confirmed the third and fourth coronaviruses of “unknown origin” in the US.

To President Trump’s chagrin, public health officials on the west coast warned that the cases are evidence that community outbreaks have already begun in Northern Cali, Oregon and Washington State. So if you were planning on traveling to the Pacific Northwest any time soon…you might want to reconsider.

In Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, we saw a rash of new cases overnight (including the first case in Qatar) nearly doubled on Friday to along with news of more cancellations of sports games, concerts and public events. France has temporarily banned all public events involving more than 5,000 people. Health Minister Olivier Véran announced the decision after an emergency government meeting on Saturday.

Veran also confirmed 16 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the country’s total taking to 73 since the outbreak began. Two patients have died, a 60-year-old French teacher and an 80-year-old Chinese tourist. On Friday alone, the number of confirmed cases nearly doubled.

Across France, all gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces will be cancelled.” The same applies to events “in an open environment where people can mix with others from areas where the virus is possibly circulating,” according to France24.

France’s decision follows Switzerland, which announced a similar ban on Friday. In Italy’s three virus-hit northern provinces, schools and universities are preparing to remain shut for a second week.

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