The first death from the novel coronavirus was confirmed on US soil in Washington State, health officials said Saturday after a handful of cases of unknown origin were found, indicating that the disease was spreading across the country.
The death occurred in King County, the state's most populous city and home to Seattle, a city with more than 700,000 residents, AFP officials said. The victim was not immediately identified.
"It is a sad day in our state when we learn that a Washington man died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in a statement.
US President Donald Trump said he would speak to the media about "latest developments in corona viruses" at around 1:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. GMT).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 people in the U.S. are infected with the disease – most of them passengers on the affected cruise ship Diamond Princess.
An American citizen died of the new corona virus in the Chinese epicenter of the global outbreak, the city of Wuhan, in early February, the US embassy confirmed at the time.
The virus has affected 59 countries around the world. Over 2,900 people have been killed and over 85,000 infected since it was discovered at a Wuhan animal market late last year.
The state of Washington has held a press conference for 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (2100 GMT).
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