California on Friday earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first state in the nation to surpass 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, California has confirmed 603,072 cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. State officials have also reported a total of 10,808 deaths in the state as of Friday morning.
Even as the number of coronavirus cases spiked in June and July, recent data has shown an improvement over the last few weeks. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said there had been a 19 percent decline in the number of people hospitalized over the past two weeks, adding that the state was "turning the corner on this pandemic."
California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order in mid-March when there was an average of 116 cases per day as part of its pandemic response. However, two months later, even as infections averaged more than 1,800 per day, the state began easing its stay-at-home orders, which many have seen as the reason for the recent spike in infections. In an effort to contain the spread, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide mask order on June 18, and followed up with another order to shut down bars and indoor dining.
Currently, the state is averaging about 8,000 daily cases, with the vast majority of those coming from Los Angeles County.
Because California is the nation's most populous state, there has been a proportional high number of cases. However, health experts point to the per capita rate of infection in California, which sees the state ranking 20th in the nation.
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