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Autopsies Show First U.S Coronavirus Death In Early February

new date comes weeks earlier than originally thought

April 28, 2020

At least two people died from coronavirus in early February, weeks earlier than what was initially believed to be the first U.S. coronavirus death.

Tissue samples taken from the autopsies of the deceased, who died inside their homes on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to health officials in California’s Santa Clara County.

This alters the timeline of the U.S. outbreak, moving the date of the earliest known death up from Feb. 29 in Washington’s outbreak.

“The fact that there were deaths related to coronavirus back in early February is very significant because it means the virus was around for a lot longer than was initially realized,” County Health Executive Dr. Jeff Smith said to The Washington Post.

These two deaths, along with a third March 6 death, indicated how long the coronavirus has been spreading in the San Francisco bay area. The county medical examiner also reclassified six more flu deaths as coronavirus cases, but the dates and details of those cases have yet to be released.

The county medical examiner also said there are several more cases pending.

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