Coronavirus cases in California surpass 5 million – .

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Coronavirus cases in California surpass 5 million – .


California has now reported 5 million cases of the coronavirus, a staggering total that underscores the pervasiveness of the COVID-19 pandemic during its nearly two-year rampage across the state.
The milestone comes at a somewhat promising, though still precarious, time in the outbreak. The daily number of newly recorded infections and people hospitalized with the disease has declined in recent weeks, a welcome trend in the midst of the fall and winter holiday season.

But officials have long circled their warning timeline this winter, warning that the combination of vacation travel, colder weather and growing indoor gatherings could threaten to fuel the ever-powerful pandemic.

“I recognize the fear many of us have as we now move into winter, as we enter a season where – if the past is a prologue – we should anticipate an increase in cases, an increase in hospitalizations. , an increase in the number of people in intensive care. , and tragically the likelihood, if we don’t take this moment seriously, an increase in the number of people who will lose their lives, ”Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week.

As of Thursday morning, the number of reported coronavirus cases in California stood at 5,001,249, according to state data compiled by The Times.

That total includes nearly 253,000 “probable” cases – those that have been identified with an antigen test but have not yet been confirmed by longer and more accurate PCR screening.

Yet the overall figure means that 5 million Californians have, at one point, tested positive for coronavirus infection.

The cumulative number of cases in California that have been definitively confirmed, around 4.75 million, is by far the highest in the country – not surprisingly, given that the Golden State has a population of over 39 million. .

The adjustment for the population shows a different picture, however. Throughout the pandemic, California has reported about 12,775 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population, the 10th lowest of any state, according to data from The Times.

By comparison, eight states – North Dakota, Alaska, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Florida – have recorded rates exceeding 18,000 cumulative cases for 100,000 inhabitants.

The rate at which the number of cases in California has increased has notably accelerated during the Delta coronavirus outbreak that struck over the summer.

California hit the 3 million case mark in mid-January. Almost seven months later, in early August, the state reached 4 million cases.

Adding another million confirmed and probable cases took just 3.5 months.

But there are signs the pandemic has run out of steam in California. Over the past week, the state has reported an average of around 4,800 new cases of coronavirus per day, down almost 22% from the level seen two weeks ago, according to data from The Times.

Hospitalizations are also on the decline. The number of coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized statewide on Wednesday was 3,409, a 28% drop from early October.

Even more promising, the downward trend continued even after Halloween. Vacation last year, while much more limited and measured than normal, helped fuel what would end up becoming the pandemic’s worst wave over the winter.

“We are now about 2 and a half weeks from Halloween and we are happy that we have not seen an increase in the number of cases that we have seen after the holidays of last year,” the director of health said on Thursday. Los Angeles County Public, Barbara Ferrer.

Several factors likely contributed to this, she said at a briefing.

“The choice made by so many families to have everyone who qualifies vaccinated has probably had the biggest impact on safety this year. And we know that many families also made choices about how they celebrated the safety of their own homes and that of others, ”said Ferrer. “We are grateful to everyone for taking steps to make the holidays safe, and as Thanksgiving approaches, we hope that similar attention to the layering of wards will allow us to come together again without creating a risk of increased transmission. “

Still, officials adopt a cautious tone. Some other parts of the country have seen a surge in coronavirus transmission recently – a potential warning sign as the weather changes and the holidays approach.

As Newsom said in a briefing Tuesday, “This virus, this disease, does not take the winter. It is coming back in force, and you are seeing it across the country. You see it in the Dakotas. You see it in Colorado. You see it in New Hampshire, Vermont. You see it all over the world.

Federal figures highlight the challenge other states currently face.

In the past seven days, California has reported 94.6 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population – the ninth lowest rate of any state, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By comparison, six other states – Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wisconsin – recorded case rates at least four times higher than California’s over the past week.

Health officials generally agree that California is unlikely to face a winter-wide outbreak of the coronavirus last year, largely because of the number of residents who have been vaccinated. Over 70% of all Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

However, experience elsewhere – even in highly vaccinated states such as New Hampshire and New Mexico – shows how easily the coronavirus can rebound.

This makes it all the more important, officials say, that unvaccinated residents get vaccinated and that those who are entitled to a booster do the same.

“As the Governor and any ‘Game of Thrones’ fan said: Winter is coming. So we have to be ready, ”Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday. “We need to know where we are. I want to recognize how difficult and confusing this moment is. Colder temperatures and increased time spent indoors still make it easier for viruses to spread, including COVID-19. “

Times writer Sean Greene contributed to this report.

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