California became the first state to register more than three million known coronavirus infections on Wednesday, according to data from the state’s health department.
As the largest state in the union with a population of 40 million, it’s not entirely surprising, but the rate at which infections have increased is astounding.
The first case of coronavirus in California was confirmed on January 25, 2020. It took 292 days to get one million infections on November 11, and then 44 days to reach more than two million. Now, less than a month later, at least 3,019,371 Californians have been infected.
More than 34,000 people have died from COVID-19 in California, including only 700 yesterday.
However, the number of hospital admissions in the state has declined – an encouraging sign that the ‘surge on top of the surge’ won’t happen there. 20,986 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19, down from the Jan. 8 peak of 22,836.
California is now struggling with the British ‘supercovid’ variety, which is believed to be 70 percent more contagious. There have been 40 cases so far. The state also has its own variant, first seen in Denmark, which already accounts for about a quarter of the cases in Los Angeles and may be more contagious than the typical coronavirus.
California became the first US state to surpass more than three million COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 22,000 on Tuesday
In California, more than 34,000 people have died from COVID-19. Mean daily mortality has fallen slightly over the past two weeks, but there were nearly 700 deaths on Tuesday
Hospital admissions are down 8.5% from two weeks ago, raising questions about whether California will see a post-holiday rise on top of the Thanksgiving surge
California’s caseload is also way ahead of other major states. Texas has more than 1.8 million and Florida surpassed 1.5 million.
A rise in caseload that began last fall has put pressure on hospitals and particularly intensive care units as a percentage of those infected – typically estimated at about 12 percent by public health officials – sick enough weeks later to need medical care.
California is one of the few states in the US with a full mask mandate, but has little so far
On average, California has seen about 500 deaths and 40,000 new cases every day in the past two weeks.
Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all down from their peaks this week.
But officials warn that a recent slight downward trend in hospital admissions could reverse when the full impact of New Year’s Eve broadcasts is felt.
The state is hoping for massive vaccinations to reduce the number of infections, but there are snags on immunization.
A mass vaccination site in Disneyland was closed for the second day in a row on Wednesday due to high winds.
California has used only 41.2 percent of the 3.5 million doses assigned to it by the federal government.
ICUs in parts of California, such as Los Angeles, had less than 17% of their ICU beds available last week due to COVID-19 patients
Vaccine rollout has been slow in California, as it has in much of the country. California’s stumbling blocks include advisor to pause use of 10% shots due to concerns about allergic reactions and sites out of doses
Disneyland in Anaheim, California was turned into a massive vaccination site with thousands of people lining up to wait for shots – but it was temporarily shut down on Wednesday for the second day in a row due to high winds
Only 1,460,430 doses have been given – enough to vaccinate just 3.7 percent of the state population with their first doses.
And the California health department advised nearly 300 vaccination centers to set aside 10 percent of the state’s total supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
On Sunday, Dr. Erica Pan, the state epidemiologist, urged health care providers to stop using one batch of a Moderna vaccine because some people needed medical treatment for potentially serious allergic reactions.
More than 330,000 doses of lot 41L20A arrived in California between January 5 and January 12 and were distributed to 287 providers, she said.
In Northern California, Stanislaus County health officials responded by announcing that they would not run vaccination clinics until further notice.
“ Out of extreme caution and also because we recognize the extremely limited supply of vaccines, we are recommending providers to use other available vaccine inventories ” pending the completion of an investigation by state officials, Moderna, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the Federal Food and Beverage Drug Administration, Pan said in a statement.
Fewer than 10 people, all of whom received the vaccine at the same community site, required medical attention for 24 hours, Pan said. No other comparable clusters have been found.
Pan has not specified the number of cases involved or where they occurred.
Six health workers in San Diego had allergic reactions to vaccines they received at a massive vaccination center on Jan. 14. The site was temporarily closed and is now using other vaccines, KTGV-TV reported.
Moderna said in a statement that the company is “not aware of similar side effects from other vaccination centers that may have administered vaccines from the same batch.”
The CDC has said that COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects for several days, including fever, chills, headache, swelling, or fatigue, “which are normal signs that your body is building up protection.”
However, serious reactions are extremely rare. Pan said that in a vaccine similar to Moderna’s, the rate of anaphylaxis – where an immune system response can block breathing and lower blood pressure – was about one in 100,000.
The announcement came as California counties continue to call for more COVID-19 vaccine as the state tries to reduce infection rates, resulting in record hospital admissions and deaths.
Although Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that everyone 65 and older would be eligible to receive the vaccine, Los Angeles County and some others have said they don’t have enough doses to vaccinate so many people and are focusing on it first. vaccination of health workers and the most vulnerable elderly living in care homes.
The COVID-19 death rate in Los Angeles County – the most populous nation and an epicenter of the state pandemic – equates to about one person every six minutes.
On Sunday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District suspended some pollution control limits on the number of cremations for at least 10 days to address a backlog of bodies in hospitals and funeral homes.
“The current mortality rate is more than double that in pre-pandemic years,” the agency said.
Even more concerns, California is experiencing new, potentially more transmissible forms of COVID-19.
The state health department announced on Sunday that an L452R variant of the virus is increasingly occurring in the genetic sequencing of COVID-19 test samples from various provinces.
The variant was first identified in California and other states and countries last year, but has been identified more frequently since November and in several major outbreaks in Santa Clara County, Northern California, the department said.
Overall, the variant has been found in at least a dozen counties. In some places, tests have found the variant in a quarter of the sequenced samples, said Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California in San Francisco.
However, not all test samples receive genetic sequencing to identify variants, so their frequency was not immediately apparent.
Health officials said it was linked to a Christmas outbreak at Kaiser Permanente San Jose that infected at least 89 staff and patients, killing a receptionist. The outbreak is due to an employee visiting the hospital emergency room wearing an air-powered inflatable Christmas tree costume.
The variant differs from another mutation, B117, which was first reported in the UK and appears to be much easier to spread, although it does not appear to make people any sicker.
That variant has already surfaced in San Diego County, and Los Angeles County announced last weekend that it had discovered its first case.