First U.S. coronavirus deaths occurred in February, autopsies suggest

Coronavirus testing
Coronavirus testing

The first U.S. deaths from coronavirus occurred in February, autopsies suggest, according to health officials in California.

Coronavirus may have spread in the United States weeks earlier than previously thought.

Autopsy tissue samples taken from two people who died in early and mid-February tested positive for the virus. The patients died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, respectively, according to the Washington Post.

The first U.S. deaths were thought to have occurred on Feb. 29 in Kirkland, Washington. Health officials there linked two COVID-19 fatalities on Feb. 26.

“The fact that there were deaths related to COVID-19 back in early February is very significant because it means the virus was around for a lot longer than was initially realized,” Jeff Smith, a physician, and the county executive in Santa Clara, told The Washington Post.

Smith suggested the virus was around for a while and spreading in the west coast community for quite some time.

As of Apr. 22, there are 840,340 coronavirus cases in the United States and 46,560 deaths. About 77,175 people have recovered.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.