Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported an additional 806 coronavirus deaths during the winter flood, bringing California's number over 50,000, or about one-tenth of the US total, from the pandemic.
The county, which is home to a quarter of the state's 40 million residents, said the deaths mostly occurred between December 3 and February 3. The Department of Health identified them after looking through death certificates left behind by the sheer volume of the surge in tolls.
"It is heartbreaking to report this large number of additional COVID-19-related deaths and a devastating reminder of the terrible toll the winter flood has inflicted on so many families across the county," said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Health Director in a statement.
Johns Hopkins University put the death toll from COVID-19 in California at 50,890.
The dire number comes days after the US recorded half a million deaths.
While the most populous state in the country has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the US, it ranks 25th in the number of cases per capita due to its large population.
The death toll skyrocketed amid an autumn and winter flood that gradually diminished as cases fell and hospital stays. Los Angeles County reported an additional 136 deaths on Wednesday, nearly half of the state's 314 additional deaths.
The state has started easing restrictions on businesses after canceling a stay at home order about a month ago. Governor Gavin Newsom has vowed to reopen schools soon despite opposition from teachers' unions.
It took the state 10 months for the state to have 25,000 deaths on New Year's Eve and less than two months for that number to double.
By the time the state hit the 40,000 death line on January 30, it had recorded 3,800 deaths the previous week. State figures reported as of Tuesday recorded 2,370 deaths last week.
Due to a delay from infection to illness to hospitalization and death, the number of deaths has declined more slowly than infection. However, deaths are expected to continue to fall.
Deaths have hit the poor and the Latin American and black communities particularly hard. People who have important jobs are more exposed to the virus and more likely to bring it to others who share overcrowded living spaces.
The death rate for Latinos is 21% higher than the nationwide figure and 7% higher for blacks, according to the state health department.
Latinos make up a large number of the population – 39% – but 55% of cases and 46% of deaths. Blacks make up 6% of the state's population, accounting for 4% of cases and 6% of deaths. By comparison, whites make up 37% of the population, but only 20% of cases and 32% of deaths.
In communities with an average annual income of less than $ 40,000, case rates are 38% higher.
California reports 695 virus deaths per day
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