California has more than 2,234,765 registered cases of COVID-19 infections. Not only does it have the highest number of cases, but it is also the only state where COVID-19 patients have exceeded 2 million. Many experts find this surprising since California had instituted several strict restrictions and lockdowns to bring the pandemic under control. Yet the number of infections just keeps climbing uncontrollably.
“The right approach, before the vaccine, is to work to protect the elderly. People — especially those living in nursing homes — are the ones who are at the highest risk of death if they were to get infected… Whereas these broad lockdowns, I think they cause a lot of harm to the non-elderly. They’re not doing very much to slow the spread of the disease,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told Fox News.
The health department of the state recently announced that stay-at-home orders for the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California have been indefinitely extended. Southern California accounts for more than half the population of the entire state. In San Joaquin Valley, most of the hospital ICUs have almost run out of beds for new patients. Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary, said that the order will remain in effect until ICU capacity becomes equal to or above 15 percent in any region. At present, the ICU capacity of Southern California and San Joaquin Valley is estimated to be at zero percent.
Are the strict lockdowns helping to flatten the curve in California?
The stay-at-home order requires businesses like hair salons, movie theaters, bars, and theme parks to remain closed. It prohibits private gatherings of any size and mandates that people use face masks 100 percent of the time as well as observe strict social distancing.
Ghaly noted that the pandemic could get worse in early January and most of the hospital leaders in Southern California are preparing for this challenge. Some models show that hospitalizations could more than double in January, rising from 20,000 to over 50,000. Governor Gavin Newsom also thinks that California could see a sharp surge in cases in the months of January and February.
Leaders from the state have approached countries like Taiwan and Australia to help fill almost 3,000 temporary healthcare work positions. The state’s medical system is apparently so overwhelmed that many hospitals have begun treating patients in auditoriums, tents, and offices.
Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, says that his hospital is overwhelmed despite being one of the largest in the county. “I’m not going to sugarcoat this. We are getting crushed… And it isn’t just COVID patients… Its car accidents and heart attacks and victims of violence. They need a place to go to receive critical care,” he said to Breitbart.
Senator Designate Alex Padilla (Democrat) believes that the reason the state of California is seeing a large number of infections is that people are getting “a little too comfortable” thinking that they are somehow immune to the virus. He also blames visitors from other states (that have had fewer restrictions) for making things worse. Padilla wants mobility to be tightened so that the number of COVID-19 cases can be brought down.
Some experts say that the reason California has the highest number of coronavirus infections in America is that it has the largest population among all states. It makes sense that states with a high population will naturally have more coronavirus patients.
The population of California as of July 1, 2019, was pegged at close to 40 million. This is 10 million more than the second most populous state and around 20 million more than the third and fourth most populous states. When compared to states ranked from fifth to the tenth spot, California has almost 28 to 30 million additional citizens. In terms of total cases per million population, California presently ranks 34th among the 50 American states.