California has now surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 cases and is on track to overtake New York for the highest number of infections – as it’s revealed the number of people to test positive in parts of the US could be up to 13 times higher than what is currently being reported.
The most populous US state totaled 400,166 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, putting it on the verge of surpassing New York – the original epicenter of the nation’s outbreak – for the highest number of infections in the country since the virus was first detected here in January.
At that point, if California were a country, it would rank fifth in the world for total COVID-19 cases behind only the United States, Brazil, India and Russia.
New York currently has more than 408,000 cases and has been adding, on average, 700 new cases a day in July.
California’s cases are rising by an average of 8,300 cases a day.
Since its crush of cases earlier this year, New York state has gotten the virus under control, reporting the fewest hospitalizations in four months on Monday.
Last week, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back some of his reopening plans for the state by announcing the closure of some indoor venues that attract crowds such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, zoos and museums.
He also ordered gyms, churches and hair salons to close in the 30 hardest-hit counties of the state.
Currently, more than 3.8 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 across the US and over 140,000 Americans have died from the virus.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 in parts of the United States could be up to 13 times higher than what is currently being reported, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
The CDC data, which was released on Tuesday, shows that the number of cases in 10 different regions was anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the current infection tallies in those areas.
The analysis was based on COVID-19 antibody tests performed on routine blood samples in 16,000 people in regions including Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, South Florida, Utah and western Washington state.
It suggests the large numbers of people who didn’t display any symptoms or get tested could have been circulating the virus within those regions.
‘These data continue to show that the number of people who have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far exceeds the number of reported cases,’ Dr Fiona Havers, the lead CDC researcher, told the New York Times.
‘Many of these people likely had no symptoms or mild illness and may have had no idea that they were infected.’
The data echoes results from a smaller CDC study released last month that showed early data for six regions. The CDC has now released the study, which was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, for all 10 regions.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed confidence on Tuesday that his state will soon contain its coronavirus outbreak and that hospitals can handle the current influx of patients, putting forward a positive case even as the state’s average daily death toll is now the nation’s worst.
DeSantis said hospital admissions and the percentage of tests coming back positive seem to be plateauing or declining in much of the state and that hospitals have sufficient capacity in their intensive care units and overall.
‘The trend is much better today than it was two weeks ago,’ DeSantis said.
‘I am confident that we will get through this. I am confident that the folks… in our hospital systems will continue to do a great job and meet the demand. There is a lot of anxiety and fear out there and I think we are going to be able to get through it. We are not there yet.’
The state health department recorded another 134 deaths, bringing Florida’s daily average for the past week to 115, reflecting the increasing infection rate the state was seeing starting last month.
That figure tops the 112 deaths a day Texas has reported during that period, Associated Press statistics show. California, with nearly double the population of Florida, is at 93 deaths a day over the last week.
A month ago, Florida was averaging 33 coronavirus deaths a day. Still, Florida is seeing one-sixth the 700 deaths a day New York experienced in April, when the crisis was at its peak. That state is now down to 10 deaths a day.
Overall, 5,317 people have died in Florida from COVID-19 since the outbreak began in the state March 1 and nearly 370,000 have tested positive for the disease.
About 19% of tests have returned positive in Florida over the last week: that figure has plateaued over the last two weeks, a sign that the spread might be slowing, but it is double compared to the 10% rate of a month ago and well above the state’s 2.3% in late May.