City of Berkeley reports 1st Berkeley resident to die from COVID-19

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The city of Berkeley confirmed its first death from COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, in the city Thursday, after a man in his 40s died of the disease.

According to a press release, the resident had underlying health issues, which complicated his case. The press release adds that all populations are susceptible to the disease.

“I am deeply saddened at the news of the first COVID-19 death in Berkeley, and my condolences go out to their family,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín in the press release. “We all have the power to reduce the spread of this virus — and the deaths and heartache it creates.”

There is currently no treatment for COVID-19, according to the press release, which urges residents to stay inside, with the exception of essential activities.

It also asks residents who do go out, including to essential businesses, to cover their noses and mouths with face coverings.

“An invisible threat, the COVID-19 virus can be carried and spread by apparently healthy people,” the press release states. “It can move onto objects they touch. It travels through the air by sneezing, coughing or just talking near another person.”

According to the press release, 34 people in Berkeley are currently infected with lab-confirmed COVID-19, and Berkeley’s first death marks the 17th death in Alameda County and the 442nd in California.

The only way to stop further spread of the disease as of now is to stay home, the press release states.

“This tragic death is a reminder that none of us can afford to dismiss the threat from this disease,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley city health officer, in the press release. “We will never know how this person could have contributed to our community over the decades of life they should have had.”

Check here for live COVID-19 updates.

Kate Finman is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.