California has become the second state in the nation to record more than 1 million cases of COVID-19, a grim milestone that comes on the heels of tightened restrictions in several Northern California counties and a surge in cases nationwide.
As of Thursday, California had at least 1,004,043 confirmed COVID cases and 18,126 deaths related to the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Wednesday, Texas became the first state in the U.S. to eclipse 1 million cases. An estimated 29 million people live in the Lone Star State. The milestones in Texas and California are among several devastating records the U.S. has seen this fall.
The timeline of COVID-19 in America often comes back to California, which is home to roughly 40 million people.
The Golden State had some of the earliest known cases among travelers from China, where the outbreak began. The Feb. 6 death of a San Jose woman is the first known coronavirus fatality in the U.S. That same month, California recorded the first U.S. case not related to travel and the first infection spread within the community.
On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order, shuttering businesses and schools to try to prevent hospital overcrowding and to slow the spread of the virus.
The spread slowed, but California faced the same challenges as other states: providing enough personal protective equipment for health workers, doing enough testing and providing timely results, tracking infections and those potentially exposed.
As the state tried to balance public health and the economy, cases rose as it relaxed business restrictions.
This week, several counties were forced to impose more restrictions, including Sacramento County, which backslid to the state’s most restrictive coronavirus tier.