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Coronavirus infects all 50 states; deaths surpass 100

Mike Mastrian, director of the Senate Radio and TV Gallery, washes down the podium in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, as West Virginia becomes the 50th U.S. state to confirm infection of COVID-19. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Mike Mastrian, director of the Senate Radio and TV Gallery, washes down the podium in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, as West Virginia becomes the 50th U.S. state to confirm infection of COVID-19. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

March 17 (UPI) -- All 50 U.S. states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as Gov. Jim Justice reported West Virginia's first coronavirus infection.

"It's a serious, serious time," he said in a televised address. "And just moments before I was able to come on tonight and talk with you our health officials came to me and said now we do have our first positive confirmed."

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The confirmed infection was in the Eastern Panhandle of the state, he said, without elaborating but stressing that West Virginia has a plan and to not panic.

"We knew it was coming. We've prepared for this and we shouldn't panic. We should be cautious. We should be concerned but we should not panic. We should live our lives the best we can, but again we should not panic," he said.

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The state has tested 137 people, 122 of whom were negative for the virus, health officials said, adding 14 tests were still pending.

Justice called on people to practice social distancing, ordering bars and restaurants to close aside from take-out services and for casinos to shutter.

He called the pandemic a once in a life event and said the public must use the powers it has "to destroy this terrible disease."

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"We should not be afraid. We should be smart at this time. And we should be West Virginia mountain strong always," he said.

Guam, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have also reported at least one case of COVID-19, a coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, in early December before spreading to more than 150 countries, killing thousands.

West Virginia's confirmation came as the number of deaths in the United States to the disease surpassed 100, according to a live tally by Johns Hopkins University, which recorded a total of 108 deaths in the nation and more than 3,600 infections.

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Illinois reported its first death to COVID-19 on Tuesday, a day after Kentucky, South Carolina, South Dakota, Nevada, Texas and Indiana confirmed their first deaths to the virus.

Eighteen states have recorded at least one death to COVID-19.

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