California COVID-19 rates plunge to new lows, fueling hope big reopening won’t bring new surge


California will fully reopen its economy next Tuesday under remarkably favorable conditions, with the COVID-19 risk rapidly receding and new cases being reported at the lowest levels in 14 months.

The state has for several months recorded one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country, a distinction that’s endured despite the end of many restrictions and the rise of new variants. The numbers and rapid rollout of vaccinations have given public health officials even more confidence that life can return to some semblance of normal without the horrific surges that thwarted California’s two previous attempts at reopening.

California has one of the highest rates of vaccinations in the nation, with 56% of residents of all ages — and 71% of adults — having received at least one dose of vaccine. Thirteen states now have at least 70% of their adults at least partially vaccinated, achieving a goal set by President Biden weeks before a July Fourth target.

That rollout of vaccines, especially in California’s most populous areas, have helped tame COVID-19 and tamped down transmission. Also a factor, especially in Los Angeles County, is the lingering immunity of many people who survived COVID-19 during the devastating surges in the last 15 months.

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