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California surpasses New York in confirmed coronavirus cases

"It's another reminder, if we needed to remind anybody, of the magnitude of impact that this virus continues to have," California's governor said.
Image: California Covid test
A man is tested for COVID-19 at a testing site provided by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California has passed New York's total for the most in the United States.

California had 415,763 total cases as of Wednesday, compared to 415,094 in New York, according to COVID-19 data compiled by NBC News.

New York's coronavirus death toll far exceeds that of California. The virus had killed more than 33,368 people in New York, while 7,892 had died in California, according to NBC News' tally.

On Tuesday, California recorded 12,807 cases, the largest daily increase since the pandemic began, Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters Wednesday. He said 115 people died.

"It's another reminder, if we needed to remind anybody, of the magnitude of impact that this virus continues to have," he said.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

In March, Newsom became the first governor to order a statewide lockdown, leading to a dip in new cases and deaths as restaurants, bars, theaters and other businesses were told to close or shift their operations.

But in California, as in other states, new cases soared as counties began lifting the measures — which Newsom said Wednesday wasn't surprising given the state's massive size and how easily the virus moves from person to person. In June, as cases continued to rise, Newsom began ordering businesses like bars to close once again.

The disease has had an outsize impact on health care workers, prison inmates, the homeless and others who remain in close contact with people who may have been exposed, he said.

Latinos have also been hit hard, Newsom said. According to state data, they represent 55 percent of the state's positive cases — nearly 147,000 — and 45 percent of its deaths, or 3,455.

Experts have attributed the disproportionate affect to Latinos' role in the workforce — they are more likely to work in jobs in which telecommuting isn't possible — as well as how they get around and where they live: They're more likely to use public transportation and to live in smaller spaces where physical distancing is difficult.

Newsom said Wednesday that the state needs to "focus its supports" in those hard-hit communities.