(NEW YORK) — Two people sickened with the novel coronavirus have died in the United States, as the global death toll from the viral outbreak that began in China nears 3,000.
Both patients who succumbed to the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, were residents of Washington state’s King County, officials said. The second death was announced Sunday night.
The United States has confirmed at least 74 cases of COVID-19 so far, including several community-acquired cases in which the patients had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual.
At least six residents of a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington state, were among those who had contracted the virus, according to the public health department for the city of Seattle and King County.
The new coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December and has since spread overseas to at least 58 other countries, with South Korea, Italy and Iran seeing the biggest surge in case numbers recently. The World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency and said it has “pandemic potential,” has recorded more than 87,000 confirmed infections globally. Over 91% of those cases were in China.
At least 2,873 people have died from confirmed cases of the virus, all but 104 in China, according to the latest data from the WHO.
COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.
South Korea has the second-highest national total of cases, behind China. As of Monday, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recorded 4,212 people who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 22 fatalities. A majority of the cases have been linked to a secretive religious sect in the city of Daegu.
Meanwhile, Italy has the third-highest national total, with 1,577 cases confirmed as of Sunday night. At least 34 of those patients had died, according to the Italian Ministry of Health. The epicenter is in the northern region of Lombardy.
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