The first COVID-19 death in America was reported on Feb. 29

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 26, 2020 02:25 PM
Medical workers outside the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York, on March 26.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

More than 1,000 Americans have now died due to complications from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Thursday, the total number of fatalities in the U.S. rose to 1,069, according to a database compiled by The New York Times, last updated on March 26. Per the same reporting, there have been at least 75,178 confirmed cases of the contagious virus across the country.

According to the Times‘ worldwide database, there are some 21,975 deaths and 489,500 confirmed cases around the globe, as of March 26.

While China has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19, Italy now has the most deaths at 7,503. The U.S. has the second-most confirmed cases in the world.

Based on CNN’s count, Wednesday was the deadliest day in terms of coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. A total of 223 deaths were reported on Wednesday alone, with 164 the day before.

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The Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, on March 25.
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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The first cases of the respiratory illness began in Wuhan, China, in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.

At first, this coronavirus was contained to China, but Wuhan is a major transportation hub with hundreds of flights leaving and landing from the city of 11 million each day. Soon, as people flew from the area to different countries, the coronavirus spread across the world.

The first confirmed case in the U.S.  was in Everett, Washington, just outside of Seattle, and a man who had recently returned from Wuhan. The number of cases grew slowly from there, with a total of just 14 over the course of about a month, but as February came to an end, the virus began to spread more rapidly in communities across the country.

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In the U.S., the first reported coronavirus death was on Feb. 29, a Washington state woman in her 50s with pre-existing health conditions. A second came one day later, a man in his 70s also with pre-existing health conditions and living in a nursing home near Seattle.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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