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Coronavirus: California’s cases stay flat despite nationwide surge


California’s curve of COVID-19 cases stayed flat Thursday even as the nation reported its most new cases in a day since the end of July, according to data compiled by this news organization and Johns Hopkins University.

Counties around the state reported 3,022 new cases and 71 new deaths from the virus, making little change to either figure’s seven-day average. Over the past week, California is averaging about 3,250 cases and 58 deaths per day.

California has been stuck at a plateau between 3,000 and 3,600 cases per day since the second week of September, but deaths have dropped precipitously in the same time. Compared to a month ago, Sept. 15, California’s average daily cases have fallen about 5%, while its average daily deaths have fallen 47%.

Nationally, average daily cases have risen about 42% in that time, while deaths have decreased about 20%. According to the COVID Tracking Project, 17 states just reported their highest weekly total of cases this past week. In California, there were about 67% fewer cases this past week than at its peak, when there were nearly 69,000 cases reported between July 6-12, an average of almost 10,000 per day.

The 63,000 new cases reported Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins, were the most the country has reported in a single day since July 31. California accounted for about 5% of those cases, despite making up about a 12% share of the national population.

The national positivity rate has climbed to 5.2%, according to Johns Hopkins, despite being as low as 4.4% as recently as Sept. 29. In California, the positivity rate remained at 2.6%, where it has been for about two weeks.

In the Bay Area, average daily cases are down about 23% from a month ago, but just about 7% in the past two weeks. About 5.6 people per 100,000 residents per day were infected in the region in the past week, compared to a statewide rate of about 8.2 and a national rate double that: 16.5 per 100,000.

Sonoma County is an outlier in the region: its cases are up, and its per-capita infection rate — about 15.2 per 100,000 — is one of the highest in the state.

Three counties in the region reported new fatalities Thursday: four in Santa Clara, three in San Francisco and one in Contra Costa. The reported death toll in Alameda County also continues to fluctuate: its count was adjusted down by nine, at least the fourth time in the past two weeks the death count reported by the county has decreased. The 433 total deaths reported in Alameda County are still the most of anywhere in the Bay Area, followed by 367 in Santa Clara, 234 in Contra Costa, 155 in San Mateo and 126 in San Francisco.

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