California has become the first state to record 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases.
A tally by Johns Hopkins University on Thursday showed the nation’s most populated state has recorded 2,010,157 infections since January. There have been more than 23,000 deaths.
The grim milestone comes as a COVID-19 crisis that health officials say stems from Thanksgiving gatherings strains California’s medical system. More than 18,000 people are hospitalized and many of the state’s intensive care units filled.
Top executives from the state’s largest hospital systems joined public health authorities this week in pleading for people to not gather for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. The results could overwhelm the medical system, they warned.
Exhausted staff, many pressed into service outside their normal duties, already are attending to virus patients in hallways and conference rooms, said officials from Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Sutter Health, which together cover 15 million Californians.