Aug 14, 2020 - Health

California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

A healthcare worker in Los Angeles handling a coronavirus test on. Aug 11.

A healthcare worker in Los Angeles handling a coronavirus test on. Aug 11. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California reported almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the state's tally to more than 600,000 since the pandemic began, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

Why it matters: California is the first state to surpass the 600,000-case milestone. It also reported 188 deaths associated with the virus on Friday, bumping its total to almost 11,000 — the third-highest death toll in the U.S. behind New York and New Jersey, according to Johns Hopkins University.

What they're saying: When asked about the case count at a news briefing on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is more focused on the state’s positivity rate — the proportion of Californians who test positive for COVID-19 out of everyone who has been tested — which currently hovers about 6.2%, according to the Los Angeles Times.

  • Newsom added that "we’re not playing to the political frame that somehow tests are bad because they will, by definition, show a higher count of total number of positives.”
  • “And I can assure you ... it’s significantly, I would argue, more prevalent than those numbers, even in California, suggest. And it’s simply because we haven’t put the testing protocols in place and we haven’t scaled our testing capacity as the most innovative nation on the planet. That includes California. We’ve got work to do.”

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