S.E. Williams 

It made national news when Texas reached the alarming milestone of one million COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, November 11 and it took only one additional day for California to join the lone star state as a member of the one-million-coronavirus-case club—a group no other state wants to join.

Although it was just a few short months ago–at the end of July—the state reached 500,000 cases, today at over one million residents testing positive and the state’s population hovering just under 40 million, it means nearly one in every forty residents in California have tested positive for the virus.

Positive cases however are not the only thing rising in the state in relation to the coronavirus. The number of coronavirus hospitalizations are also on the rise. Though not increasing as aggressively as the national average of 48% over the last two weeks (the highest point since the start of the pandemic) California’s hospitalizations increased about 38% in the same two week period  bringing the state to the highest percent of hospitalizations since early September.

As concerning as these numbers are, what is most compelling and heart wrenching in the increasing number of deaths. By Thursday over 242,000 Americans had already succumbed to the virus and with a national COVID-19 death rate both Wednesday and Thursday of 1,400 deaths per day, the grim milestone of a quarter of a million coronavirus related deaths draws near.

Today, America holds the dubious and scandalous position of having more COVID-19 deaths than any other country in the world.

Locally, COVID-19 cases in San Bernardino County on Thursday climbed 1.1% over Wednesday to 71,847 Confirmed Cases. There were no additional COVID deaths reported so the county’s total loss to the illness remained at 1,096.

Riverside County reported 545 new cases on Thursday down from the 655 new cases reported on Wednesday. In addition, there was only one COVID-19 related death on Thursday, down from the two deaths reported Wednesday.

According to the California Department of Public Health the coronavirus risk level in both Riverside and San Bernardino  Counties remains “widespread” which keeps them assigned to the state’s Purple Tier meaning  many of the counties’ non-essential indoor business operations must remain closed.

Longtime Riverside County resident Derrick Ballard and his wife both battled COVID-19 earlier this year. Although his wife successfully battled the illness at home, he spent several days in the ICU. “I would tell everyone to take steps to protect themselves and their family. This virus is serious, and it takes a toll on you!” When asked what advice he would give to others regarding the virus he had three simple words, “Wear a mask.” Ballard explained he and his wife were never sure who contracted the first and brought it home to the other as they were both still working outside the home.

After nearly nine months COVID continues to wreak havoc across the country and experts continue to insist if people would wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid gathering, it would go a long way toward controlling the spread of this illness.

Local health officials also encourage local residents to get tested for COVID-19. Click here for a list of test site locations in San Bernardino County. Follow this link for a test site location near you in Riverside County.

 S.E. Williams is editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.