BEIJING – Health authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Saturday reported the country’s first death from a new type of coronavirus.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that seven other people were in critical condition.
It said a total of 41 were suffering from pneumonia caused by a “preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus” as of Friday, down from the earlier figure of 59. It said those were in stable condition and at least two had been released from a hospital.
The patient who died was identified as a 61-year-old man who had been admitted after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia. The commission said he also suffered from abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease and had been a frequent customer at a food market on Wuhan’s outskirts that has been linked to the majority of the cases.
It said he died after his heartbeat stopped on Thursday night.
China says the cause of the Wuhan outbreak remains unknown, but has sought to quash speculation that it could be a reappearance of the SARS epidemic, which killed hundreds in 2002 and 2003.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold, while others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.
Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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