Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that 12,807 new coronavirus infections had been reported statewide in the past 24 hours — a record high — bringing California’s total to 413,576.
“It’s just another reminder … of the magnitude of impact that this virus continues to have,” he said during a press briefing.
The sustained surge in cases comes as coronavirus-related hospitalizations have continued to hit or approach record-breaking levels in the state. Approximately 7,170 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide as of Tuesday, with 2,058 in intensive care, according to the state Department of Public Health.
California is also reporting worsening death tolls. For the weeklong period that ended Monday, 674 deaths were reported in California, the highest weekly total to date. That number broke the record set in the previous seven-day period, when 640 died; the week before that, it was 474.
Experts say hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators of the coronavirus spread and can reflect exposure to the virus that occurred weeks earlier.
Los Angeles County reported 3,266 new cases Wednesday, pushing its cumulative total above 164,000.
Although it’s true that younger groups are, on the whole, less likely to fall severely ill as a result of COVID-19, officials stress that that does not mean they are immune — or that they can’t spread the disease to others who are more at risk.
“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,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
“People over the age of 65 years old account for 11% of all cases but account for nearly 75% of all deaths. Our behaviors, including the wearing of face coverings and the adherence of physical distancing — simple actions of kindness and caring — can protect those we love.”