March 1, 2020 / 6:35 PM / a month ago

U.S. still unsure how first American fatality contracted virus - Azar

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the coronavirus outbreak with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday it remained unclear how the first American to die of coronavirus contracted the disease, and that there was no evidence he had a connection to someone who had traveled to an outbreak area.

Federal and state officials were continuing to investigate how the individual - a Washington state man in his 50s with underlying health conditions - was exposed to the virus, Azar told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

He said the risk to average Americans remained low and aggressive containment measures were in place, but more cases were likely to emerge and it was unknown how widely the disease would ultimately spread.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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