US Covid-19 fatalities started much earlier than previously known

The first US fatalities from the novel coronavirus took place weeks before previously known, according to autopsy results released Tuesday of two individuals in Santa Clara, California who had died on February 6 and February 17, way ahead of the February 29 death in Washington state considered the first .

“Each one of those deaths is probably the tip of an iceberg of unknown size,” Sara Cody, the chief medical officer of Santa Clara county, told the New York Times. “It feels quite significant.”

These new fatalities change the US timeline by a quite a bit, specially as President Donald Trump has come under mounting for not doing enough in the month of February after restricting the entry of travelers from China, which he has tended to portray as the high-point of his administration’s response.

The deadly pathogen would tear through the United States shortly and catapult it to the top of the casualty list for infections and fatalities. The toll went up by 2,751 in the last 24 hours to 45,075 and by 39,460 is to 825,306 confirmed cases. Deaths in New York state, the American epicenter of the epidemic, were up to 19,118 and 14,887 in New York city.

These number may not reflect it, but the country is past the peak in terms of new cases, and some states have begun spooling back the restrictions alarming critics, but not the White House which has looked on indulgently, in line with the president’s backing of lockdown protestors.

The president has also stoked anger against China with increasing attack on its role, alleging it may have misled the world on the origins of the epidemic, which Americans are saying could have started from a virology lab in Wuhan, the city that became the epicenter of the Chinese outbreak; and the then the exact magnitude of its crisis.

Missouri state on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in a federal court alleged gross mismanagement of the crisis by China and sought damages. “Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable,” said the first of its kind lawsuit filed by the state’s Republican attorney general Eric Schmitt.

Beijing dismissed the lawsuit as “malicious”. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters., “These so-called lawsuits are purely malicious abuses.”

“Such abuses are not conducive to epidemic prevention and control in the United States, and also run counter to the current international anti-epidemic cooperation,” he added.

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