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California Hits 1 Million Coronavirus Cases

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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California hit a new milestone this afternoon: 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, as tracked by the Los Angeles Times.

That makes California the second state to reach that grim milestone after Texas, which reached 1 million on Tuesday.

About 2.6% of Californians have now had or currently have coronavirus that we know about, though the actual number is probably much higher, according to USC virologist Paula Cannon, who spoke to our news and culture show Take Two.

And as the state's largest county, we are a large contributor to the state number, said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. That's particularly true due to our recent surge in cases.

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There was an average of 1,464 cases per day in L.A. County as of Nov. 3. A month earlier, that number was 988 — that's an increase of more than 33%.

The jump coincides with the reopening of some businesses, large outbreaks at work sites, and an uptick in public gatherings and meetings with others outside a household, Ferrer said.

"If collectively we fail to stop the acceleration of new cases, we will have no choice but to look at additional actions," she said. "All around the country, elected officials and public health leaders are introducing new requirements to protect health care systems from becoming overwhelmed."

Ferrer did not elaborate on what those additional actions in L.A. County might be, but said we know what we can do, and we have the tools to do it.

All in all, Cannon said we shouldn't be too hard on people. She said the big numbers in California and Texas are at least in part a reflection of the fact they are the two most populous states in the union. When looked at per capita, our state is actually trending below the national average.

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In addition, Cannon said, the people most affected are those of working age, 18-49 years old. As much as the surge might be a reflection of younger people attending more parties, it also reflects a growing community of people who have to return to work.

"L.A.'s actually doing a better job than you might imagine, but again, still, you know, very high, scary numbers all around."

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