Coronavirus updates: US federal inmate dies after giving birth while on ventilator

By MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 217,000 people worldwide.

More than 3.1 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than one million diagnosed cases and at least 58,355 deaths.

Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:

6:05 a.m.: China to hold largest political gathering after two-month delay due to coronavirus

China has decided to hold its most important political gathering next month after postponing it for weeks because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The country’s official state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday that this year’s plenary session of the National People’s Congress would take place in Beijing on May 22, as decided by its standing committee.

The 3,000-member ceremonial legislature was originally scheduled to convene in March but was delayed as the country struggled to contain the deadly outbreak.

It was the first time in decades that the annual assembly had been postponed — since the Cultural Revolution.

China’s National Health Commission has reported at least 82,858 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,633 deaths on the mainland since the novel coronavirus emerged in the central city of Wuhan back in December.

5:12 a.m.: US federal inmate dies of COVID-19 after giving birth while on ventilator

A 30-year-old federal inmate died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, four weeks after giving birth while she was on a ventilator, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Andrea Circle Bear, who was serving a 26-month sentence for maintaining a drug-affiliated business, is believed to be the first female federal inmate in the United States to die of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Circle Bear was transferred last month from a South Dakota jail to the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, which houses 1,625 female inmates. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was immediately placed on quarantine status at the facility, according to a statement from the Bureau of Prisons.

Circle Bear was taken to a local hospital on March 28 because of potential concerns regarding her pregnancy. She was discharged the same day and taken back to FMC Carswell. Three days later, she was seen by the prison’s health services staff for a fever, dry cough and other symptoms, and was subsequently transported to the local hospital where she was placed on a ventilator, the Bureau of Prisons said.

Circle Bear gave birth to her baby by cesarean section on April 1. The new mother tested positive for COVID-19 three days later. She was pronounced dead by hospital staff on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Prisons said Circle Bear had a pre-existing medical condition, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists as a risk factor for developing more severe illness when infected with the novel coronavirus.

Nationwide, more than 1,300 federal inmates and over 300 Bureau of Prisons staff have tested positive for COVID-19. At least 30 federal inmates have died from the disease.

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