Jul 1, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus lessons of California

A COVID-19 warning sign on Sunset Boulevard says "Face mask required"
Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Although California appeared to be on track in March to become a coronavirus disaster, the state managed to turn things around — only to find cases skyrocketing three months later.

Between the lines: It's obvious what caused the problem in states like Arizona, Texas and Florida, where the warnings of public health officials were largely disregarded. But in California, there's not just one clear-cut explanation, the MIT Technology Review reports.

What happened:

  1. There are large ethnic disparities, with infections concentrated within low-income communities.
  2. People became lax about safety measures like social distancing and mask-wearing.
  3. There's a large number of prison cases.
  4. Some patients are coming from other places, including Mexico.

Between the lines: California avoided becoming a hotspot early on, but cases had been steadily rising long before they began rapidly spiking, as my colleagues Andrew Witherspoon and Sam Baker reported.

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