‘We are getting crushed.’ What’s behind the alarming rise in California’s Covid-19 cases

Since the Thanksgiving holiday, California has faced a surge of Covid-19 infections unparalleled across the United States, leading to continued daily record highs in hospitalizations and deaths.

ICU bed capacity has plunged to nearly zero in vast portions of the state as patients rush into hospitals, which are struggling to manage strains on resources and personnel.
“We’re experiencing an explosive and very deadly surge,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.

State and local officials are continuing to enact lockdown and quarantine protocols for residents and visitors, even as the Pfizer vaccine rollout has provided some long-term hope. While it may be too early to tell due to the virus’ long incubation time, aggressive stay-at-home measures put forth throughout California two weeks ago have yet to slow the spread.
As the nation’s most populous state and home to approximately 1 in 9 Americans, California would understandably lead in a category such as total cases in a pandemic felt nationwide. However, it is the sheer volume of sick residents and the rate of increase that is particularly driving alarm.
On November 1, the seven-day average for new daily cases in California was 4,183. On Thursday, it was 38,774.
Multiple factors are at play when it comes to California’s sudden acceleration of coronavirus cases, including Covid-19 fatigue, resistance to stay-at-home regulations, the huge number of essential workers and the socioeconomic factors of the pandemic affecting poorer and minority households.
More than 22,000 Californians have died
The California Department of Public Health announced 379 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday, the state’s highest one-day total yet, shattering the prior record of 293 lives lost announced on Wednesday. Friday’s numbers also cleared the earlier record, with 300 deaths reported. More than 22,000 Californians have died from Covid-19.
California’s overall case number is more than 1.7 million, with 52,281 new cases added Thursday. More than 41,000 new cases were announced Friday, as officials noted some were from earlier and had yet been reported.
The daily increase of more than 50,000 cases is staggering for the state, particularly when compared to other outbreaks around the world. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Covid-19 data, California’s daily average of new cases outpaces Canada, Spain and Argentina, all nations with similar populations.
Even more populated countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom have not approached the same level of new infections as California, let alone the entire United States.