The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has admitted to making a mistake about a key detail pertaining to the first coronavirus-related death to occur in the United States.
Although the patient was initially identified by the CDC as a female, the first person to die of the coronavirus in the U.S. was actually a 50-year-old male, according to the Washington Examiner.
The individual who confirmed and corrected the mistake was Robert Redfield, the current director of the CDC.
“CDC erroneously identified the patient as a female in a briefing earlier today with the President and Vice President,” Redfield wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday afternoon.
According to the Examiner, the series of events on Saturday began with the unfortunate news from Washington state that an individual had in fact died of COVID-19, the formal name for the coronavirus disease that has become widespread in China and other parts of the world. Based on the information contained in Redfield’s tweet, the White House was then briefed about the matter by the CDC.
Subsequently, President Donald Trump held a White House news conference in which he spoke about the death specifically, and also more generally about coronavirus and its continued spread.
It was here that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the point man on the coronavirus task force — relying on the information provided by the CDC — referred to the individual who died as a female. President Trump described the individual as a “wonderful woman.”
Washington state officials then responded by insisting that Trump and Pence were mistaken and that the individual was actually a man. This led to a period of confusion that continued until Redfield settled the matter with his tweet.
The path forward
Regardless of the initial confusion, the United States has now suffered its first coronavirus-related death. Overall, there have been roughly 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country thus far.
The Washington man’s death has now stoked additional fears throughout the nation, but according to President Trump, it is important to note that the victim in question was “a medically high-risk patient.” The president took pains to reassure Americans that “healthy individuals [who contract the illess] should be able to fully recover,” CBS News noted.
Because it appears unlikely that a vaccine will be widely available anytime in the immediate future, officials are focusing their efforts on containing the spread of the virus, according to the BBC. Accordingly, the Trump administration on Saturday announced new travel restrictions and advisories specifically involving Iran, South Korea, and Italy, the Examiner reported.
Though heightened preparedness and prevention efforts are certain to continue here and in countries across the globe, the Trump administration maintains that the risk level for Americans remains low, according to NBC News.