Fatalities in China reached a single-day high of 86 on Friday, raising the national death toll to 724
WHO reported 31,481 confirmed global cases on Friday, up by 3,000+ cases from Thursday; SCMP says total cases closer to 35k
First American citizen has died
First Japanese citizen suspected of succumbing to virus
France elevates travel advisory to orange after 5 Britons fall ill in ski resort
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With roughly a dozen cases confirmed in the US, all of which are reportedly expected to pull through, news of the first American death from the coronavirus outbreak initially sounded like a mistake. But it’s now been confirmed by both the New York Times and WSJ: One of the Americans who decided to stay behind in Wuhan has died.
Few details about the woman were immediately available, other than her age – 60 – and the location where she died. Though the NYT reported, citing two sources, that she had underlying health issues.
Few details about the American, who died on Thursday, were immediately available. According to the United States Embassy in Beijing, the person was 60 years old and died at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, the inland metropolis at the center of the epidemic. Two people familiar with the matter said the person was a woman and had underlying health conditions.
It’s unclear whether the woman who died made any attempt to leave the city on one of the evacuation flights that has ferried Americans to safety.
News of the American woman’s death come as the world grows increasingly skeptical about the numbers being released by the Chinese government, with some suggesting that the number of new cases reported every day reflects China’s limited screening abilities, not the actual number of new infections. And as we pointed out last night, over the past two weeks, what was initially an exponential curve in the number of new cases has quietly shifted into a quadratic one, where the number of new cases is largely unchanged day after day.
We also noted that the number of confirmed deaths (all except for 3 have been recorded inside China) has topped 700 (the most recent total is 724), and is now closing in on the 800 number – aka the total number of cases from the SARS outbreak.
Washington is especially frustrated with Beijing right now because, for the last month, the CDC has been offering to send a team of experts to help China combat the outbreak (remember when President Trump promised whatever help would be necessary?). But the Chinese have refused to accept them (though they have accepted shipments of facemasks and other supplies). A similar offer from the WHO has also been refused (though its top officials – who know the deal with Beijing – have met with the Chinese leadership).
Alex Azar, the United States secretary of health and human services, said at a news briefing on Friday that he had recently reiterated the C.D.C. offer to his Chinese counterpart, Dr. Ma Xiaowei.
Asked about the holdup, Mr. Azar said: “It’s up to the Chinese. We continue to expect fully that President Xi will accept our offer. We’re ready and willing and able to go.”
Hmm….we wonder why?
Interestingly, Japan also claimed that one of its citizens may have succumbed to the virus in Wuhan, though they can’t be sure because Chinese officials never confirmed whether the patient had contracted nCoV.
Japan also said on Saturday that one of its citizens had died in a Wuhan hospital from a suspected case of the coronavirus. But the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that based on information it received from the Chinese authorities, it could not confirm whether the man, who was in his 60s, had been infected with the new virus. The ministry called the cause of death viral pneumonia.
Per WSJ, Chinese officials said the man died of “viral pneumonia” in Wuhan, meaning it was almost certainly nCoV.
China’s Foreign Ministry said this past week that as of noon on Thursday, 19 foreign nationals in the country had been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, and only two have been discharged from the hospital.
In other disturbing news, 5 British nationals have reportedly been diagnosed with the virus in a French ski town, according to the Telegraph. The group was reportedly infected when one of its members came into contact with an individual who had been infected in Singapore.
Think about that: Five Britons have been infected with the virus (which can cause life-threatening pneumonia) after contracting it via aerosol exposure from a traveler who had recently been to Singapore, and was (presumably) infected there. The French government has raised its travel restriction to orange.
Does that sound like a ‘China’ problem? All the while, China is growing more isolated as the US and dozens of other countries either close their borders to Chinese citizens, or implement strict controls. Meanwhile, across the mainland, millions are mourning the death of Dr. Li, a doctor who succumbed to the virus in Wuhan after being punished for trying to warn the public about it. According to the SCMP, his death could inspire demands for free speech to coalesce into a movement, similar to what just transpired in Hong Kong.
For the hundreds of Americans who were rescued and are now being quarantined on American military bases, news of the death, though said, likely helped put things in perspective: Yes, they’re stuck in this military camp for two weeks. But at least one of them must be thinking: ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’