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Coronavirus: California’s Recent Cases Among Fewest Per-Capita Nationwide

5 states reported fewer cases per-capita than CA in the past week, and only 3 where cases are also declining

There aren’t many states with fewer recent infections of COVID-19 by proportion of population than California; in fact, you can probably count them on one hand.

Counties around the state reported 2,789 new cases of the virus Tuesday, lowering its daily average further to about 3,100 per day over the past week, according to data compiled by this news organization. That amounts to about 54.9 cases per 100,000 Californians over the past week — a rate lower than all but five states, according to national data compiled by the New York Times.

However, many counties that did not report new cases or deaths over the weekend also didn’t issue updates Monday, a state holiday for Indigenous Peoples Day.

California ranks between Oregon (57.2) and Washington (53.3) in cases per-capita over the past week. Only Hawaii (47.2), New Hampshire (38.8), Maine (15.4) and Vermont (9.5) reported lower rates of cases per-capita than the trifecta of West Coast states. Nationally, the per-capita rate was about 107.7.

California reported the second highest number of total cases in the past week, behind only Texas. However, they are also the country’s two most populous states. The third state, Wisconsin, reported about 85% of the total cases in California, despite a population about 15% of the size.

New outbreaks across the Midwest have sent the national curve back on an upward trajectory. A national average that fell to as low as 35,000 cases per day in mid-September climbed back above 50,000 on Monday for the first time since mid-August.

In North Dakota, the state with the highest rate of cases per-capita, there were nearly 10 times as many cases in the past week than in California, after accounting for population — a rate of more than 500 per 100,000 residents.

Montana, Wisconsin, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana are also currently experiencing the highest level of spread through their populations, all of which reported between three and five times more cases per-capita over the past week than California.

Every one of those states currently has a higher rate of cases than California did at its peak, when there were about 175 cases per-capita during the week that ended July 12.

California is also one of just eight states to report fewer new cases now than two weeks ago, according to the Times (Washington, Hawaii and Maine are the others to overlap with the six lowest case rates mentioned above). But that decline has been modest: About 6% fewer cases compared to a month ago and 5% fewer than two weeks ago.

California’s decline in hospitalizations had also slowed recently, but in data reported Monday the total fell to its second-lowest point on record (the only day with fewer active hospitalizations was the day CDPH began tracking hospital data, April 1).

According to the COVID Tracking Project, California has the 15th-fewest active hospitalizations per-capita with about one in every 13,000 residents in the hospital and either confirmed or suspected to have the virus. That’s nearly four times the rate of that in the hardest-hit states; in the Dakotas, about one in 3,000 residents was hospitalized as of Monday.

California’s positivity rate of 2.6% over the past seven days ranks 11th, behind a contingent of states in the northeast, as well as the state of Washington and Washington, D.C, according to Johns Hopkins University and the COVID Tracking Project.

Altogether, there are only three other states where cases are declining that also match California in positivity rate, plus per-capita cases and hospitalizations in the past week: Washington, Hawaii and Maine.


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