December 3, 2020
Here's how California's COVID-19 risk level compares to other states
You've probably heard COVID-19 cases in California are rising at an alarmingly rapid rate.

On Monday Gov. Gavin Newsom said the number of infections has risen 51% in just 10 days and hospitalizations are up 48%.

"California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer," Newsom said in a statement.

While you're likely finely attuned to California's daily coronavirus numbers, you may be wondering how its numbers compare to other states.

The Dakotas currently have among the worst outbreaks in the country, but how much worse than the Golden State? In a nutshell, a lot worse.

One of the key indicators of COVID-19 prevalence in a community is the number of new daily cases per 100,000 people across seven days, and in North Dakota that number is 181 and in South Dakota 161. In California, it's 21.

Illinois, with the big city of Chicago, may be a better comparison. In the Prairie State, the rate per 100,000 in the past week is 96.

"California's surge remains well below the catastrophic ones in the Midwest," Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, wrote in a Twitter thread Tuesday. "But if we don't turn things around, we could easily find ourselves in similarly terrible shape. The time to act is now."

To give a clearer picture of how the pandemic in California compares to what's unfolding in other states, the San Francisco Chronicle pulled numbers from 16 other states, including a mix of states with the highest infection rates as well as places with the largest number of total cases. The date on the number of new cases in the past 7 days came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the number of total cases and deaths from state public health departments. See data on all 50 states at
Story Date: December 1, 2020
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