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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.”

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Go deeper

22 hours ago - World

France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday a second nationwide lockdown starting Friday to contain the coronavirus.

Why it matters: “(France has been) overpowered by a second wave,” Macron said in a national televised address Wednesday, noting the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier," than the first. The announcement comes after the country saw over 36,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.

13 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

In the final week before Election Day, new coronavirus infections have soared to an all-time high — virtually guaranteeing that the pandemic will be the most prominent issue in America as voters prepare to choose the next president.

The big picture: Cases are surging and local hospitals are straining at the very moment that voters are choosing between President Trump, who continues to insist that the pandemic is almost over, and Joe Biden, who has made the crisis a centerpiece of his campaign.

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