California becomes first state to surpass 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California has surpassed the grim milestone of 2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of early Thursday morning, the state was reporting at least 2,002,494 diagnosed cases of the virus. It is the first state to top 2 million.

Just six weeks ago, the state was reporting 1 million cases.

The state has seen its number of cases climb exponentially in recent weeks, followed by soaring rates of hospitalizations and deaths that have overwhelmed intensive care units and prompted hospitals to put emergency room patients in tents and treat others in offices and auditoriums.

Los Angeles County is leading the surge, accounting for a third of COVID-19 infections and nearly 40% of deaths. The county reported 145 new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, the highest one-day total since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This emergency is our darkest day, maybe the darkest day in our city's history," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said during an evening briefing on the coronavirus.

Garcetti stressed if the virus continues to spread at the present rate, there won't be enough medical staff to treat everyone. Hospitals may soon have to ration care.

"That means doctors will be forced to determine who lives and who dies," he said.

More than 23,000 in the state have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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