California’s coronavirus death toll reached another once-unfathomable milestone — 70,000 people — on Monday as the state emerges from the latest infection surge with the lowest rate of new cases among all states.
Last year at this time, cases in the state started ticking up and by January California was in the throes of the worst spike of the pandemic and was the nation’s epicenter for the virus. Daily deaths approached 700.
The latest surge started in summer and was driven by the delta variant that primarily targeted the unvaccinated. At its worst during this spike, California’s average daily death count was in the low 100s.