Story Corps

photo credit: Anver Hisham/Wikimedia Commons

2021 has been a year of milestones for California, and the state just crossed another: 5 million COVID-19 cases.

On June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom stood atop a stage at Universal Studios in Hollywood; the day marked California’s economic reopening after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.

“We’re not just coming back, we’re gonna come back more focused on inclusion, more focused on equity, and we’re gonna come back roaring back," Newsom said at the time.

But the number of COVID-19 cases has only increased, despite expanded access to vaccines and booster shots. On June 15th, the state’s 7-day case average was 880. As of this week, it’s well over 15,000.

The number of cases statewide is far below last winter’s surge. But daily cases have swelled, fueled by holiday travel and the heavily mutated omicron variant.

Health officials are urging people to ​get vaccinated, tested and wear masks through the new year.


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