California COVID-19 cases top 12 million: Report
The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in California, the most populous state in the United States, has topped 12 million, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday. That milestone was hit last week in the state, home to around 40 million residents, according to data compiled by the biggest newspaper on U.S. West Coast.
The statewide tally — just under 12.02 million cases as of Friday, according to The Times’ tracker — is undoubtedly an undercount, because of both limited access to testing in the pandemic’s early days and the fact that many people now self-diagnose using at-home tests, the report noted, adding that “even so, the figure constitutes a population larger than that of all but six states.”
The report pointed out that California is seeing increased circulation of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which has been described as perhaps the most infectious strain of the coronavirus. XBB.1.5 accounts for an estimated 56.9 percent of new cases in the Western region of the country. Despite its infectiousness, XBB.1.5 has not spawned a major spike in hospitalizations, according to the report.
This is the first year that California did not experience a devastating surge coinciding with winter, a development many officials attribute to the widespread administration of vaccines, the report added.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in October last year that California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency will come to an end on Feb. 28, 2023, after being in effect for almost three years since March 4, 2020. U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration also announced last month that it will end COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11.
California, once an epicenter of the pandemic in the country, became the first state to surpass 5 million COVID-19 infections in December 2021 and hit the grim milestone of 10 million confirmed COVID-19 cases last August.