Feb 8, 2020 - Health

First American dies from coronavirus in Wuhan

Staff members work at a cultural building
Photo: Xinhua/Li Han via Getty Images

A 60-year-old U.S. citizen died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China on Thursday — making it the first known American death from the illness, according to a State Department spokesperson.

The state of play: The U.S. government has been proactively trying to evacuate U.S. citizens from China, as the coronavirus death toll has grown to more than 720. As of Friday evening, 34,546 cases of the respiratory illness have been confirmed in mainland China.

  • Nearly 800 Americans have been evacuated from Wuhan, and are being quarantined in the U.S. under the care of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physicians, NPR reports.
  • The CDC has confirmed 12 cases of the virus in the U.S. across six states: California, Arizona, Washington, Wisconsin, Illinois and Massachusetts.

The big picture: China has been criticized for refusing outside help to combat the spreading virus, and the news of the American death "was likely to add to diplomatic frictions over Beijing’s response to the epidemic," the New York Times reports.

Go deeper: Coronavirus death toll reaches 720

Go deeper