February 29, 2020

1:35 pm UPDATE:

WATCH: Washington state officials' press conference here.

Person who died was a man in his 50s who had multiple "co-morbidities" and was a medically high-risk person, with an "unexplained respiratory infection." That is why he was tested.

Also, man who died was one of three new cases in Washington state.
(Aliza Worthington)

Seattle reported the first death of an American citizen from coronavirus on Saturday afternoon. Just 18 hours before the death, Donald Trump called coronavirus a "hoax" at his rally in South Carolina. I know you are as shocked as I am that he was wrong. So wrong. So incredibly wrong.

Coronoavirus appears to be spreading in the United States and there is no way of knowing exactly how many people are sick because our insurance is so incredibly awful. But do not panic yet. The main concern now is to track "community spread," which is phenomenon of spreading in the community with a difficult time recreating the patients' daily steps and interactions. That is where the real issue is.

We currently know of 60 cases, although 44 came from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. Right now, another issue is ensuring that hospitals have access to testing kits and that the CDC is able to test and report back on results quick enough to provide rapid diagnoses and quarantine, as needed. There is the additional issue of the UC Davis case not being tested for almost a week, because the CDC said they need not "meet the threshold," leading to a lengthy delay in diagnosis, treatment, and exposure of staff to the virus. Over 124 medical staff were exposed in the hospital after just that one patient testing delay.

There is conflicting information about the patient who died from the virus. Trump described them as a woman in her 50s, and medically high-risk. Initial reports were of a young man. A press conference from Washington state officials is planned for 1 pm Pacific time (4 pm Eastern). We'll update as we learn more.

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