U.S. State Department reports first coronavirus fatality among Washington staff


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department on Tuesday reported its first coronavirus fatality among the staff at its headquarters in Washington, bringing the total death toll in its global workforce due to the outbreak to five.

“The individual passed over the weekend,” William Walters, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Operations in Bureau of Medical Services told reporters in a teleconference. “He was hospitalised for some time fighting the coronavirus.”

Walters said that the deceased individual, a civil servant, had been out of the office for more than two weeks. He did not provide further details including in what role the individual served at the State Department, citing privacy issues.

Among the other four fatalities in the State Department’s global workforce, three others were locally employed staff in foreign missions while a fourth person, a contractor working in New York, died of the illness last week.

The Department is currently tracking a total of 297 cases overseas and another 71 cases domestically, Walters added.

More than 1.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 120,670 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

The virus has upended normal life across the globe.

In the United States, which has recorded more fatalities from illness than any other country, death toll on Tuesday topped 25,000, doubling in one week, according to a Reuters tally.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Sandra Maler