Coronavirus death of U.S. citizen in China appears to be 1st American fatality

ABC NEWS — A U.S. citizen has died of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in what appears to be the first death of an American from the virus.

The 60-year-old victim died at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan on Thursday, according to a statement from the U.S. embassy.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” the embassy statement said. “Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”

Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, is the epicenter of the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China to 24 countries. The Chinese government has imposed a lockdown on most of Wuhan’s 11 million residents in an effort to limit the spread of infection.

As of Friday there were 31,211 confirmed coronavirus cases in China, with 673 deaths, according to figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO). The prior 24 hours saw 3,151 new cases with 73 new deaths.

Outside of China, there were 240 confirmed cases as of Friday, with only one death — a 44-year-old man in the Philippines. The 240 cases represented an increase of 54 over the prior 24 hours.

The United States had 12 coronavirus cases as of Friday. An additional 11 Americans were among 64 passengers with the coronavirus on the Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is moored in Japan’s Yokohama Port while passengers are under quarantine.

Based on an analysis of patients in China, 82% of coronavirus cases are classified as mild, 15% are severe, and 3% are critical, said WHO technical lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove. Less than 2% of all patients with the virus have died, she said.

WHO officials are also cautioning against misinformation being promoted regarding the virus.

“There is an understandable confusion at the beginning of a pandemic,” WHO executive director Dr. Michael J. Ryan said Friday. “When you don’t know your enemy, the fear of your enemy grows … we will try our best to try and communicate in an honest and transparent way.”

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