Right before the White House’s news conference, health officials in Washington state confirmed a person diagnosed with coronavirus in King County has died.
President Trump described the patient as a “wonderful woman” and a “medically high-risk patient” in her late 50s, at the news conference. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later said it had mistakenly described the patient’s gender in a briefing to Trump and Vice President Pence, and local health officials clarified the deceased was a man with underlying conditions.
More coronavirus infections were reported from South Korea to France to Qatar on Saturday as health officials in Washington state, Oregon and California reported another worrying development: new cases among people who have not traveled recently to countries hit hard by the outbreak or come into contact with anyone known to have the disease, which public health officials refer to as community transmission.
Washington state on Saturday announced three new cases of the virus — including the person who died — with circumstances that suggest person-to-person spread in the community. The other patients were a health-care worker at a long-term nursing facility and a female resident in her 70s from the same center.
California has reported three cases of community transmission, two of which are in Santa Clara County and one of which is in Solano County. Illinois reported a third case Saturday but did not say how the person may have gotten the virus.
Here are the latest developments:
- The five new cases announced Saturday bring the number of infections in the United States to 24, excluding repatriations, according to the CDC. Forty-seven other people who have been repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China, and from the Diamond Princess cruise ship also have the virus.
- The new cases in Washington state included the first possible outbreak in a long-term nursing facility. Health officials have said older people and adults in poor health face the highest risk from the virus.
- The Food and Drug Administration expanded coronavirus testing by speeding up hospitals’ abilities to test, though some worried the changes fell short in reducing logistical burdens.
- Italy became the third country, in addition to China and South Korea, to confirm more than 1,000 cases of the virus. Of the 1,049 patients, 401 are hospitalized and the rest are self-isolated at home.