California Has the Country’s Lowest COVID Positivity Rate and Case Rate

After a terrible winter and a Delta-induced spike, things are looking up for the Golden State

Last winter, California couldn’t catch a break. More Californians died of COVID-19 in January 2021 than had during any previous month since the start of the pandemic and that month, a Johns Hopkins research project estimated that one in 17 people in Los Angeles County were carrying the virus.

To say things have turned around would be an understatement. New data (again compiled by Johns Hopkins) indicates that California currently has the lowest positivity rate of any state in the country, with 24.99 new confirmed cases reported for every 100,000 people as of Saturday night. Other success stories include Maryland (25.34 new cases per 100,000 people) and New Jersey (26.74 new cases per 100,000 people), while Florida is in the worst shape, with an outrageous 262.3 of every 100,000 people testing positive.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control also shows that California also has the lowest case rate in the U.S. According to the CDC’s community transmission map, California is the only state where the risk of transmission is “substantial” rather than “widespread,” the worst of the tiers. (This was the case last week, but the state briefly slipped back into the “widespread” tier.)

Conditions are expected to improve further as additional mandates go into effect  in the coming months, and the vax rate rises. Last week, L.A. County adopted a new health order that requires patrons to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor drinking venues including bars, nightclubs, wineries, and breweries, as well as outdoor mega-events with more than 10,000 attendees. Patrons will need to have at least one dose by October 7 and be fully vaccinated by November 4 for bars and other drinking spots, while outdoor mega-events will need to start verifying attendees’ vax status (or a negative test result) by October 7.

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