Fact of the Day: California Is Doing Better Than Most on COVID-19

Here in California, new lockdowns and travel restrictions are the order of the day. This extreme response to rising COVID-19 cases is based on ICU capacity, so it’s perfectly reasonable. However, it’s prompted a spate of articles about how the coronavirus is “raging out of control” in California with an astonishing 22,000 new cases recorded yesterday.

I don’t understand. This is roughly 10 percent of all new cases in the country, and California has a little more than 10 percent of the US population. It’s basically what you’d expect. To test this, I made a chart (of course I did):

This shows two things. First, as goes the country, so goes California. We’re just following the overall trend. Second, for the past couple of months we’ve been substantially below the national average. I suppose you can say that cases in California are “raging out of control” simply because COVID-19 is raging out of control practically everywhere, but that’s pretty deceptive. In fact, California is doing relatively well. As of yesterday, we were about one-quarter below the national average.

So what’s with the news coverage? Can’t these folks do simple division?

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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