U.S. Citizen in Wuhan, China, Dies from Novel Coronavirus

A U.S. citizen diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV died at a Chinese hospital Thursday, as confirmed cases of the illness have climbed to nearly 35,000 worldwide.

The 60-year-old patient was being treated at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan, China, the city where the outbreak of novel coronavirus started, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Authorities did not identify the person.

“The Department of State has no higher priority than the welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad,” the spokesperson said. “We are working around the clock to inform U.S. travelers of the risks related to the novel coronavirus, to assist Americans in need, and to combat the spread of this outbreak.”

More than 3,000 additional cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed since Friday, bringing the total number of diagnoses internationally to 34,886.

Outside of China, only one death and 288 confirmed cases of the disease have been reported, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent situation report.

Twelve coronavirus diagnoses have been made in the U.S. The cases were confirmed in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington state, and Wisconsin.

The risk to the general American public remains low, officials have said. The potential public health threat posed by the virus to both the world and the U.S. is high, though, according to the CDC.

“The fact that this virus has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread in China is concerning,” the CDC’s website says. “These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic.”

Coronaviruses are spread through respiratory secretions, droplets from coughs and sneezes, according to BPHC. Symptoms may include a fever, cough, shortness of breath and pneumonia.

Officials have urged the public to take preventative measures similar to those taken during the flu season, including washing hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when feeling sick.