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US citizen dies in China, first American fatality

The death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China spiked 23 percent Wednesday amid new counting methods adopted by Chinese health officials, who eased their criteria for confirmed cases.

Deaths rose by 252, to a total of 1,367 worldwide. All but two of those deaths have been recorded in China. Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed cases spiked to 60,286 – an increase of over 15,000 from the previous day.

The spikes are at least partly due to new counting standards implemented by China, which reported Wednesday that it is tallying infections differently. The nation previously only counted a coronavirus case as confirmed when a person tested positively for the virus.

As of Tuesday, the government is no longer requiring a positive test, a decision made partly because testing kits are in short supply. New cases are now being confirmed if a person is simply diagnosed by a doctor or other health professional; China says the new standard will help treat people more quickly once they exhibit symptoms of the virus.

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