Only a few weeks ago, thousands of Southern Californians were flocking to beaches, Disneyland was announcing it would soon reopen, and Whoopi Goldberg was lauding Gov. Gavin Newsom on “The View” for the state’s progress in combating the coronavirus. The worst, many in California thought, was behind them.
In fact, an alarming surge in cases up and down the state was only just beginning.
Over the past week California’s case count has exploded, surpassing 220,000 known infections, and forcing Mr. Newsom to roll back the state’s reopening in some counties. On Monday, he said the number of people hospitalized in California had risen 43 percent over the past two weeks. More than 7,000 new cases were announced across California on Monday, the highest single-day total of the pandemic.
Los Angeles County, which has been averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday, with the virus actively infecting one in every 140 people, according to local health officials. More than 2,800 cases were announced in the county on Monday, the most of any day during the pandemic.
On Sunday, Mr. Newsom shut down bars in a half-dozen counties, including Los Angeles County and in the Central Valley, and recommended that another eight counties voluntarily close their nightspots and gathering places. And Disneyland has rescinded its decision to open its gates.
California was the first state to shut down and one of the most aggressive in fighting the virus. But the state that was so proactive in combating the spread of the coronavirus is now forced to ask itself what went wrong.
“To some extent I think our luck may have run out,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is faster and worse than I expected.”