A month after California’s reopening lifted most pandemic restrictions, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising, worrying public health officials as they contend with the more infectious Delta variant and the lagging pace of vaccinations in some communities.
Los Angeles County has drawn particular concern, with five straight days of more than 1,000 new cases, a five-fold increase from mid-June.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 15 officially ended the state’s stay-at-home and mandatory mask orders affecting 40 million people, allowing most businesses to fully reopen. Vaccinated or not, many unmasked Californians eagerly crowded into reopened stores, restaurants, churches and sporting events..
The fallout: On Wednesday, nearly 3,100 new COVID-19 cases were reported, compared to 700 on June 15. And the state’s test positivity rate – a measure of how much virus is circulating in a community – jumped from 0.08% to 3%, according to the California Department of Public Health.
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