California now has nation’s lowest virus transmission rate

Sep 21, 2021, 4:18 PM | Updated: Sep 22, 2021, 3:26 pm
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2021, file photo, a woman waits in the holding area after receiving the COV...

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2021, file photo, a woman waits in the holding area after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic set up in the parking lot of CalOptima in Orange, Calif. California is seeing lower coronavirus transmission than other U.S. states as virus cases and hospitalizations decline following a summer surge. State health experts say relatively high vaccination rates ahead of the arrival of the delta variant made a difference. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has the lowest coronavirus transmission rate of any state following a sharp decline in cases and hospitalizations after a summer surge.

The nation’s most populous state is the only one experiencing “substantial” coronavirus transmission, the second-highest level on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s color-coded map. So is Puerto Rico. In all other U.S. states, virus transmission is labeled as “high,” defined as 100 or more cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

California’s rate is 94 cases per 100,000. By comparison, Texas is 386 and Florida is 296.

State health experts say relatively high vaccination rates in California ahead of the arrival of the delta variant made a difference, and additional measures, such as masking, also helped stem the surge. Nearly 70% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated, and another 8% have received their first shot, state data shows.

“The overall secret to California has been the vaccination rates were high enough that we started off in an OK place,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a professor of epidemiology at University of California, San Francisco’s medical school. “We just never reached the height we saw in Florida, for example, because it’s against the backdrop of fairly high vaccination rates.”

On Monday, a state mandate went into effect requiring attendees at indoor events with 1,000 or more people show proof of full vaccination or a negative test. Patrons previously were allowed to just attest they were vaccinated or had a negative test.

California has seen coronavirus cases and hospitalizations decline following a summer increase in cases with the arrival of the delta variant. In the past two weeks daily new cases are down by more than 4,000, a decrease of 32%, while hospitalizations have dropped by 22% to just over 6,000.

The summer surge occurred after California lifted many limits on businesses in June. It followed a much more severe winter surge when officials shuttered shops and schools in the state of nearly 40 million. During that time, sick patients packed many hospitals, and thousands died every week.

California’s death toll is now more than 68,000, tops in the nation, but the per-capita rate is lower than more than the half the states.

The severity of last winter may have helped temper this most recent surge in California, said Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at University of California, Irvine.

“It’s a combination of immunity from vaccination and from the huge winter wave that we had,” he said.

Los Angeles County, which is home to one in four of the state’s residents and has some of the state’s strictest virus mandates, reported a 1.2% positivity rate on Monday.

Barbara Ferrer, LA County’s director of public health, said safety measures that encourage masks and limit places where large numbers of unvaccinated people gather are needed to head off “a continual cycle of surges fueled by new variants of concern.”

In neighboring Orange County, which has looser restrictions than LA, coronavirus cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations also have declined in recent weeks, said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy health director. She said she believes vaccinations made a difference, noting the recent surge was initially detected in the county’s coastal areas and other places with lower vaccination rates.

“In terms of case rates and hospitalizations, everything is downward trending,” she said, adding the county’s positivity rate has fallen to 3.7% from 6.8% in late August. “We are starting to get out of this surge, which is good.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., far left, board an elevator as...
Associated Press

Pelosi upbeat on Biden deal but Manchin pans billionaire tax

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues Wednesday that Democrats are in “pretty good shape” on President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic plan, but fresh problems emerged as a pivotal Democrat panned a new billionaires’ tax to help pay for the $1.75 trillion package. Biden and Democrats are racing to wrap up talks before […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

East Texas ex-nurse gets death penalty for killing patients

TYLER, Texas (AP) — A jury sentenced a former Texas nurse to death Wednesday for killing four patients by injecting air into their arteries after heart surgery. The Smith County jury deliberated about two hours before condemning William George Davis to death. The 37-year-old Hallsville man’s sentence will be automatically appealed. The sentence came a […]
13 hours ago
Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining th...
Associated Press

Garland defends school board memo amid Republican criticism

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday defended a memo aimed at combating threats against school officials nationwide while Republicans insisted he rescind the directive. He signaled he had no plans to do so despite their criticism. The memo took center stage as Garland appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee – his second […]
13 hours ago
In this undated photo provided by Lucy Bernholz, author Bernholz poses for a picture. Bernholz trav...
Associated Press

An author’s reminder: Philanthropy isn’t defined by money

Lucy Bernholz talks about Chex Mix a lot. Bernholz, a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, doesn’t want people to think of only one type of giving — the headline-grabbing, 10-figure pledges from billionaires and their foundations. Philanthropy, she says, is like the beloved bar snack. It has lots […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for December delivery fell $1.99 to $82.66 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude oil for December delivery fell $1.82 to $84.58 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for November delivery fell 7 cents to $2.45 a gallon. November heating oil fell 7 cents to $2.51 a gallon. November natural gas rose 32 cents to […]
13 hours ago
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2021, file photo, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks...
Associated Press

US ends immigration arrests at schools, ‘protected’ areas

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. immigration authorities will no longer make routine arrests at schools, hospitals or a range of other “protected” areas, under new guidelines released Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security. As part of a further effort to make immigration more targeted, agents and officers are being directed to consider the impact of […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
Chris Kennedy

My Special Aflac Duck® taking flight in Arizona

For more than 65 years, Aflac has had the extraordinary opportunity and privilege to help provide peace of mind to individuals who have our supplemental insurance policies.

More stroke patients eligible for acute treatment, thanks to research

Historically, patients underwent acute stroke treatments according to strict time guidelines. But thanks to recent advancements in stroke research, more patients are becoming candidates for clot-busting drugs and endovascular therapy at specialized centers like Barrow Neurological Institute.
California now has nation’s lowest virus transmission rate