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California’s rapid recovery from the winter coronavirus surge went into overdrive Tuesday, as much of the Southland was allowed to reopen swaths of its long-shuttered economies — meaning more than 35 million residents no longer live under the state’s most severe restrictions.

San Diego, Riverside, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were among those freed from the most stringent tier in California’s color-coded reopening plan, just days after Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino also got the green light to reopen restaurant dining rooms and resume limited indoor operations at movie theaters, gyms and other businesses.

The rapid move toward significant reopenings reflects two trends: continued declines in coronavirus case rates and a steady increase in vaccinations. Over the past week, California has reported an average of 3,141 new coronavirus cases per day, a decrease of nearly 40% from two weeks ago, according to data compiled by The Times.

The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients has also tumbled. On Monday, there were 3,058 coronavirus-positive Californians hospitalized statewide, with 827 in intensive care. Both figures are the lowest seen since early November, when the state’s catastrophic fall-and-winter wave was just beginning.

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