Politics

State Department confirms first official to die from coronavirus

Key Points
  • The nation's top diplomat said Tuesday that a State Department official died from the coronavirus.
  • "We've had a State Department official pass away as a result of this virus," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press briefing. 
  • The Pentagon confirmed Monday that a U.S. service member who tested positive for coronavirus had died. The New Jersey Army National Guardsman was hospitalized on March 21 and died on Saturday from the virus.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the U.S. State Department January 07, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The nation's top diplomat said Tuesday that a State Department official died of COVID-19.

"We've had a State Department official pass away as a result of this [corona]virus," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press briefing. 

"We've had other members of the team come down with COVID-19 as well. I think we are now up to four or five dozen people who have tested positively inside the State Department, that includes our locally employed staff, the full State Department team," Pompeo said, without adding further details about the individual.

The Pentagon confirmed Monday that a U.S. service member who tested positive for coronavirus had died. The New Jersey Army National Guardsman was hospitalized on March 21 and died Saturday from the virus.

"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member — active, reserve or Guard — to coronavirus," wrote Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement. "This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community."

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during the joint press conference with Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford (not in the picture) on August 28, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia.
China News Service | Visual China Group | Getty Images

The death of the guardsman is the fourth loss within the Department of Defense. Earlier this month, a contractor who worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency died, as did a military dependent. One civilian has also died.

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon has reported a total of 1,259 cases since the coronavirus emerged.

Of those, 51 people recovered and four died. Of the 1,204 current confirmed cases, 673 are active-duty military, 247 are civilians, 212 are dependents and 72 are contractors.

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