California COVID-19 death toll surpasses 10,000 – SF Gate

California’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 10,000 Friday as the state continues to struggle with a widespread pandemic.

Johns Hopkins University reported a total of 10,024 fatalities in California. The state now has the third-highest number of deaths in the country since the start fo the pandemic.

New York and New Jersey have the highest and second highest number of deaths in the U.S. at more than 32,000 and nearly 16,000, respectively. Both states have far fewer people than California. The country’s most populous state has 40 million people.

The first known COVID-related death in the U.S. occurred in early February in the San Francisco Bay Area county of Santa Clara.

Nearly half of California’s deaths are in hard-hit Los Angeles County, where more than 4,800 of its 10 million residents have died. The Central Valley has also been hit hard with outbreaks among essential workers and the farming community.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first in the nation to issue a stay-home order in mid-March, but the virus began to surge after the Memorial Day holiday as the state relaxed its restrictions and people tired of staying indoors gathered with family and friends.

It’s unclear what the current infection rates are, however, as California’s system for tracking the disease is beset by technology problems that have delayed the reporting of test results.

Deaths throughout the country are climbing. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington is now projecting the death toll from COVID-19 in the United States could reach 300,000 by Dec. 1. The latest forecast, issued Thursday, estimates that between now and Dec. 1, 137,000 people will die in addition to the roughly 160,000 fatalities reported so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

Amy Graff is the news editor for SFGATE. Email her:

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