California has recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day, as the state surpassed New York for the most total cases in the country.

The state saw 12,807 confirmed cases on Tuesday, the governor, Gavin Newsom, announced on Wednesday. That figure brings the state’s total to more than 413,576 since the pandemic began, Newsom announced.

The figures mean California has surpassed New York, once the undisputed center of the US crisis, for the most coronavirus cases in the country. However California – which has a population of 40 million, twice that of New York – remains behind the Empire state in other metrics. New York still has by far the most coronavirus-related deaths in the country with more than 32,500, and its rate of confirmed infections of about 2,100 per 100,000 is twice California’s rate.

The surge of cases comes after California reopened much of its economy in May. Since then, Newsom has ordered statewide shutdowns for bars and indoor dining while imposing tougher restrictions – including bans on indoor worship services and in-person instruction at schools – on virtually every large county and some small ones where the outbreak is most severe.

California’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 7.6%, Newsom noted during his briefing today. He strongly urged Californians to continue wearing face masks to limit the spread of the virus and pledged that the state would distribute more personal protective equipment to frontline workers to protect them as cases surge.

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“We are a state, again, the size of 21 states combined, so it’s not surprising now in some respects as we begin to reopen key sectors of our economy … that our numbers would start to go up,” Newsom said Wednesday. “[It’s] a sober reminder of why we are taking things as seriously as we are.”

California initially succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus. But the state has had a sharp reversal, with Covid-19 infection rates climbing sharply in recent weeks.

Starting in March, residents were urged to stay home as much as possible. State health orders shut down all but essential businesses such as grocery stores. Throughout May and June, California reopened much of its economy, and people resumed shopping in stores and dining in restaurants.

But infections began to surge and a new round of business restrictions was imposed, including a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars.

Los Angeles county, the country’s most populous with 10 million residents, reported that younger people were driving the spread of new infections.

More than half of the county’s new cases came from people under age 41. The county’s Covid-19 death total was at 4,154. with positive cases topping 161,670, the county’s department of public health said.

“The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures, while our older residents continue to experience the results of this increased spread with the worst health outcomes, including death,” said Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles county public health director.

(Source: The Guardian)