California recorded some of the first COVID-19 cases in America and the country’s first known death, in what would become a worldwide pandemic. It responded with the nation’s initial stay-at-home order. Now, the Golden State claims another dubious distinction: more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other state.
California passed New York for that record Wednesday morning, reaching more than 409,000 cases and eclipsing New York’s 408,886, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
California is No. 1 in part because it is the most populous state but also because millions of residents have been unwilling, or unable, to practice the social distancing and mask-wearing that public health experts say are the best measures to keep SARS-CoV-2 somewhat in check.
“I think we started to exit shelter-in-place sometime around Memorial Day both emotionally and physically. And we are paying the price for that,” said Nicholas Jewell, a biostatistics authority at U.C. Berkeley. “It’s like we should be tip-toeing out on the ice. What we did, instead, was all run out on the ice, some not too cautiously. And a lot of people fell through the ice.”
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