A U.S. citizen who was diagnosed with the new coronavirus has died in Wuhan, China, in what appears to be the first known and confirmed death of an American from the viral outbreak.
“We can confirm that a 60-year-old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at a hospital in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 6,” a U.S. Embassy spokesman said in a statement sent to news outlets.
The American victim died at Jinyintan Hospital, the spokesman said, adding: “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment.”
CNN reported that the deceased was a “Chinese-American,” citing China’s Foreign Ministry.
News of the American’s death comes as a Japanese man in his 60s died in Wuhan, Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported, citing the Japanese Foreign Ministry. The man was hospitalized for severe pneumonia and the ministry said it was told by the Chinese side that he died of “viral pneumonia.”
Although he was suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, results were not yet available from diagnostic tests, the news agency reported. If results confirm coronavirus, he would be the first Japanese death in the outbreak.
Wuhan, a city in Hubei province, China, is the epicenter of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov), for which the first case was reported in early December 2019. Over two dozen countries, including the United States, have confirmed cases of the virus.
The White House on Friday asked scientists to rapidly assess the origins of the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Jan. 29 formed a coronavirus task force, which has been providing the president with daily updates on the outbreak.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said the United States was prepared to spend up to $100 million to assist China and support coronavirus efforts by the World Health Organization.
The United States has sent nearly 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China, including masks, gowns, and respirators, a State Department official said.
The United States has confirmed 12 cases of the coronavirus. The latest confirmed case was in Wisconsin—also the first case in the state. Other coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts, Illinois, Arizona, Washington state, and California.
The new coronavirus is in the same family of pathogens as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which caused hundreds of deaths in China in 2003, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed more than 500 worldwide since 2012.
A senior official of a crematorium in the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan says their intake has skyrocketed in recent weeks, suggesting more people are dying of the disease than officially reported.
Hundreds of foreigners have been evacuated out of Wuhan over the past two weeks. A second evacuation plane to airlift Australians out of Wuhan was delayed after China did not give it clearance to land, Australian officials said on Saturday.
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Zachary Stieber, Cathy He, and Reuters contributed to this report.