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Latest coronavirus: California epidemic eases as new cases hit lowest level in three months

Peter Wells in New York

California on Wednesday reported fewer than 5,000 new cases of the coronavirus for the first time since early November, further sign that the state is under control of its latest wave of the pandemic.

The health department revealed 4,090 more infections, up from 5,692 on Tuesday, and marking the smallest increase in one-day cases since November 3.

While the latest figures may reflect delays in reporting after the long weekend, the less than 5,000 milestone points to a change in fortunes from California’s worst pandemic from mid-December to mid-January, while the most populous state in the United States on several occasions has reported one-day increases of over 50,000 cases.

Other closely watched measures are also heading in encouraging directions. The 14-day positivity rate, at 4.1 percent, is the lowest since mid-November and down from the recent high of 14 percent in early January.

Hospitalizations, at 8,855, were below 9,000 for the first time since late November, while the number of beds available in intensive care units in the state was at its highest in just over two months .

Deaths, which tend to delay cases and hospitalizations, still remain relatively high. Authorities have attributed 400 more deaths to the coronavirus, down from a seven-week low on Tuesday of 64.

The state has administered 6.4 million vaccines against the coronavirus, according to the Department of Health. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Feb. 16 puts the total at 6.2 million, or 15,719 doses per 100,000 population, which ranks it among the 20 U.S. states with the lowest per capita vaccination rates.

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