California on Wednesday became the first state to surpass the grim milestone of 50,000 coronavirus deaths, according to The New York Times coronavirus database.
The Times noted that most of the deaths were recorded following a period of higher infection rates during the winter months as more people were confined at home and individuals traveled for holiday celebrations.
From late November to early January, Los Angeles County added 400,000 coronavirus infections after taking nearly 10 months to reach its first 400,000 cases.
California, the country’s most populous state, averaged a high of more than 560 deaths a day in January, up from fewer than 50 per day in November.
Despite the high number of total coronavirus deaths in California, the Times noted that at least 30 more states have recorded more deaths per capita, with New Jersey reporting twice as many.
Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the increase in cases and deaths, with the newspaper reporting that Latinos, despite making up 39 percent of the state population, account for 46 percent of California’s coronavirus deaths.
The milestone in California comes after the U.S. on Monday surpassed 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19 even as case numbers have trended downward and President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE’s administration has ramped up vaccination distribution efforts.
The Times reported Monday that cases in the U.S. have dropped by more than 40 percent in the past two weeks and by more than 70 percent since January.
Hospitalizations have fallen more than 50 percent since January, with a total of 62,000 reported around the country as of Feb. 18, according to the newspaper.
Despite this progress, an average of 71,000 Americans still tested positive for the virus every day last week, a rate still well above the summer and spring peaks last year.