California surpasses New Jersey for state with 2nd-most coronavirus cases

California surpasses New Jersey for state with 2nd-most coronavirus cases

California on Friday surpassed New Jersey to become the state with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. after a spike in positive tests as it eases out of lockdown.

California has confirmed more than 170,860 cases as of early Saturday morning, leaping over the more than 168,490 cases in New Jersey, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

California boasts a much lower infection rate per capita when comparing its 40 million residents to the nearly 9 million living in New Jersey.

But the state has set records this week for single-day new infections.

California documented 3,455 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, at the time of the third-highest-ever daily tally.

But then the state broke the single-day record Wednesday, recording 4,083 cases, and again on Thursday, when another 4,317 news cases were reported.

The spike comes more than a month after the state began easing its shelter-in-place restrictions and as it moves into a broader reopening – the third phase of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-phase plan.

The governor has continued to push forward with the state’s reopening, reasoning he expects positive cases to increase as testing capacity improves.

But Newsom on Thursday announced a mandatory facemask executive order for most indoor settings and in outdoor environments where social distancing is not possible.

A familly wearing face mask walk at the West LA Farmer's Market in Santa Monica, California.
A family wearing face masks walk at the West LA Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica, California.AFP via Getty Images

“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said in a statement about the new policy. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”

New York remains the first of all states by a number of reported coronavirus cases, with more than 386,550 cases on record as of early Saturday morning, according to Johns Hopkins.