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First Coronavirus Death In US Was Earlier Than Originally Believed, New Data Indicates

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Shelby Talcott Media Reporter
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The first known death from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. occurred Feb. 6, according to new data from an autopsy result.

America’s first known coronavirus death was previously thought to be Feb. 29. This death occurred in Washington state, one of the virus’s earliest hotspots.

Santa Clara County Public Health announced autopsy results Tuesday that indicate the first death in America occurred earlier in California on Feb. 6. Axios was the first to report on the announcement. The medical examiner also confirmed that another person died Feb. 17 in Santa Clara from coronavirus, as well as a third on March 6.

Medical laboratory scientist, Alicia Bui, runs a clinical test in the Immunology lab at UW Medicine looking for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, a virus strain that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 17, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Medical laboratory scientist, Alicia Bui, runs a clinical test in the Immunology lab at UW Medicine looking for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, a virus strain that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on April 17, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

“These three individuals died at home during a time when very limited testing was available only through the CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention],” Santa Clara County Public Health said in a statement. “Testing criteria set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a known travel history and who sought medical care for specific symptoms. As the Medical Examiner-Coroner continues to carefully investigate deaths throughout the county, we anticipate additional deaths from COVID-19 will be identified.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan. 21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)

Washington state, where the previous first novel coronavirus death was believed to have occurred, was one of the country’s earliest hotspots. California was another early hotspot, the Washington Post previously reported.