New York has become the fourth state to record more than 1 million Covid-19 cases since the coronavirus pandemic started.
As of Saturday, New York had 1,014,044 confirmed cases, according to NBC News counts. California remains at the top of the list with 2.3 million confirmed cases, the most of any state in the country. Los Angeles County alone has reported about 806,210 cases as of Saturday, according to public health officials.
Florida and Texas have 1.3 million cases and 1.7 million cases, respectively.
Also on Saturday, the U.S. reported more than 350,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
Public health officials in New York say the official number of cases represents a significant undercount, since many people in the New York City area were infected with the coronavirus last spring when testing was largely unavailable, NBC New York reported.
“As we start 2021, I encourage all New Yorkers to look to their better angels and continue the practices we know stop the spread of this virus — wash your hands, socially distance and wear a mask,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the city plans to to vaccinate 1 million residents in January alone.
The United States ended 2020 with the deadliest and most infectious month since the start of the pandemic.
More than 77,000 people died in December, while 6.4 million people contracted the virus amid the emergence of a new variant and delayed efforts to vaccinate people. The second-deadliest month was April 2020, with more than 58,000 deaths.
At least four cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom have recently been reported in Colorado, California and Florida, but public health experts believe it is likely circulating elsewhere in the country.
In other developments Saturday, hospitals officials said 43 staff members at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Emergency Department in California tested positive for Covid-19 between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1.
The hospital said all areas in the emergency department were undergoing deep cleaning and that employees who tested positive for Covid-19 or are suspected of having the coronavirus due to symptoms will follow isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The hospital is investigating whether a staff member who briefly visited the emergency department on Christmas Day wearing an air-powered costume with a fan may have unintentionally caused air droplets to spread.
Officials said such costumes will no longer be allowed inside the buildings.
“Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time,” the hospital said in a statement.