Coronavirus Latest: California Is First State to Pass 500,000 Infections

California became the first state to surpass 500,000 coronavirus infections, capping a month in which confirmed cases rose by nearly two million nationwide

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California became the first state in the U.S. to surpass 500,000 coronavirus infections, capping a month in which confirmed cases rose by nearly two million nationwide.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, California’s death toll rose to 9,214, up by 188 since the end of Thursday. Confirmed cases of infection stood at 500,556. The state’s testing positivity rate dropped slightly at the end of the week, to 7.2%, according to the state’s health department. The first Covid-19 death of a teenager was reported earlier in the week.

The new coronavirus swept through the U.S. in July, overwhelming some states and cities. The nation’s death toll rose by nearly 25,000 during the month.

The U.S. was approaching 4.6 million cases of infection and its death toll rose by 1,259 since the end of Thursday to 153,314, according to Johns Hopkins. That marked the fourth day in a row that the U.S. had more than 1,000 deaths, according to a Wall Street Journal tally.

Florida, the state that reported the second-highest number of infections, said its daily tally was 9,642 new cases. Total confirmed cases stood at 480,028, the Florida Department of Health reported, while the state’s reported death toll rose by 179 on Saturday, bringing the total to 7,022.

In Georgia on Friday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed two executive orders, extending the state’s public-health state of emergency through Sept. 10 while keeping in place existing safety measures through Aug. 15.

The first order allows improved coordination across government and the private sector for supply procurement, comprehensive testing and health-care capacity. The second sets out specific requirements for social distancing, bans gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is 6 feet between each person and outlines mandatory criteria for businesses.

Also Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first two coronavirus tests that measure antibody levels in a person’s blood. The two serology tests can tell not only whether someone has antibodies to the virus, but can give some idea of how much.

The U.S. government also signed a $2.1 billion deal with two drugmakers, Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, to fund the development of a coronavirus vaccine and guarantee supply of 100 million doses if proven safe and effective in clinical trials, the companies said Friday.

Vietnam confirmed 37 new coronavirus infection cases by the end of Friday, raising the country’s tally to 546. Transmission accelerated there after a new outbreak emerged in Da Nang, a well-known tourist destination, about a week ago following more than three months of no locally transmitted infections.

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