Coronavirus cases, deaths continue to rise in California

Closing in on its 30,000th fatality from COVID-19, California on Sunday continued reporting new deaths in larger numbers than any other point of the pandemic, and its average case count rose nearly equal with its pre-Christmas peak.

Despite only a dozen counties issuing updates Sunday, they combined to report 27,530 new cases of COVID-19 and 263 deaths from the virus, according to data compiled by this news organization, raising the state’s cumulative death toll to 29,964. The day’s death toll was particularly notable because it came on a Sunday, a day on which there had never been triple-digit fatalities, largely because many count health departments do not report new data on weekends.

More than 3,300 Californians have perished in the past week, an average of approximately 476 per day — or one every three minutes — a 42% increase from just one week ago and ten times higher than the start of November. And as we move further away from the holidays, a brief lull in cases is beginning to give way to another surge.

With an average of approximately 44,100 new cases per day over the past week, California’s average daily case count is 23% higher than a week ago and within 3% of its previous peak in the week leading up to Christmas. Positive tests had briefly plateaued, but officials warned of a potential wave of infections from holiday gatherings.

Across much of the state, hospitals are already overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients from a surge in infections that began around the beginning of November. California’s cases have increased tenfold in that time and active hospitalizations by nearly as much. In the Bay Area, intensive care unit capacity fell to its lowest point of the pandemic, hitting 3% on Sunday, while hospitals in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley enter their fourth week operating in surge capacity.

However, hospitalizations have stopped climbing — at least for now. The active count fell by 107 in the past 24 hours to 21,647 COVID-positive patients, as of Saturday, according to the latest data from the state, and has dropped everyday since Wednesday; there are only about 5% more patients hospitalized now than there were a week ago.

Five counties accounted for all of the new additions to the statewide death toll, almost entirely in Southern California. Los Angeles County, where the cumulative total recently crossed 12,000, led the state with 166 new deaths, followed by 50 in Orange County, 33 in San Diego County and 11 in San Bernardino County. In the Bay Area, Contra Costa County reported three fatalities.

Over the course of the pandemic, the entire Bay Area has combined to reported one-quarter of the fatalities of Los Angeles County, despite a population three-quarters in size. Over the past week, Los Angeles County was responsible for about 45% of the state’s casualties while holding about 25% of its total population, compared the Bay Area, which has accounted for about 11.5% of the past week’s deaths in California with about 20% of the state’s population.

Altogether, the 263 fatalities on Sunday were nearly triple the previous record for a Sunday, coming just two days after the state set an all-time record by reporting 682 new deaths on Friday.

As cases and deaths have skyrocketed, California has climbed the national hot spot leaderboards. Twelve states reported more deaths as a proportion of their population in the past week than California, and only two reported a higher number of infections per-capita. Prior to this surge, California had avoided the worst per-capita rates in the nation even as it reported larger totals than many states with smaller populations, but this wave has been magnitudes larger than any before it.

Nationally, infections have surged well beyond their previous high before Christmas, to an average of about 255,000 per day over the past week, according to the New York Times. To date, more than 22.4 million Americans have been infected — about one in every 15 people in this country — and, as the national death toll approaches 375,000, an average of 3,250 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day.

Source: mercurynews
Coronavirus cases, deaths continue to rise in California