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California is first state to pass 50,000 Covid deaths

The state, the most populous in the nation, has also had more than 3 million cases.
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Covid-19 has killed nearly 51,000 people in California, which on Wednesday became the first state to pass 50,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, according to an NBC News count of reports.

The state has seen more than 3.5 million infections, a statistic that also leads the nation based on raw numbers. California is also the most populous state with around 40 million people.

As of Wednesday night, New York state had more than 48,000 reported deaths, and Texas had more than 42,000, according to NBC News' count.

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Part of the increase in California's reported deaths Wednesday came from Los Angeles County, which announced 806 deaths that initially had not been counted as associated with Covid-19.

The county's health department said those deaths came after extensive checks of death records and occurred during a major surge from Dec. 3 to Feb. 3.

At the time of the surge, not all deaths were reported to the department because of the volume of records, officials said. A later review of vital records that list the cause of death found them, it said. There were already more than 9,700 deaths reported from December through January, it said.

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"It is heartbreaking to report on this large number of additional deaths associated with Covid-19 and a devastating reminder of the terrible toll the winter surge has taken on so many families across the county," Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

New daily reported cases of Covid-19 have been falling across the country in recent weeks, but health experts have said that the numbers are still very high.

On Sunday, the nation passed 500,000 deaths. As of Wednesday evening, the U.S. had recorded more than 28 million cases, according to NBC News' count.