Fully 20% of California’s population has now had Covid. That count does not include those who got positive results from at-home tests and did not officially report them. That makes California the nation’s most infected state, in terms of raw numbers. The next-closest region is Texas, with more than 2 million fewer infections, according to the New York Times.
In terms of average cases per 100,000 across the pandemic, however, California is below the norm at about 21,600 cases per 100,000 residents. At the top of that list, Rhode Island has seen more than 32,700 cases per 100,000.
Still the raw numbers are staggering. The number of flu cases in the state in the season before Covid hit, 2018-2019, was roughly 40,000, per state figures. Flu deaths in a bad year are less than 7,000.
The past six weeks alone have seen more than a third of the infections total as the Omicron surge hit 3 million Californians. That compares with the 96 weeks it took for the remaining 5 million people to be infected, according to a count by The Sacramento Bee.
Of course, the grimmest data point, deaths, has also ballooned during the Omicron surge.
While some reports last week indicated the California had passed 80,000 pandemic deaths, the state’s official data page only today confirmed that many lives lost.
Eighty thousand people is greater than the population of 7 California counties added together. It means 1% of all Californians known to be infected so far have died. Extrapolated out to the state’s 39 million residents, that would be 390,000 deaths.
Of course, many people in the state now have some immunity simply by virtue of being infected. What’s more, 69% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated and 47% have been boosted. And many key indicators — daily cases, test positivity hospitalizations — are falling rapidly.
But progress on vaccination will likely be slow from here on, given that the people amenable to a shot have already gotten theirs. And there is some concern about new versions of Omicron circulating and whether they will be more transmissible that Omicorn, which itself twice as transmissible as the Delta variant.