California received perhaps the worst gift anyone would want, confirmation that it hit the two-million mark for coronavirus cases.
It reached the milestone yesterday (December 24), even as the entire state was put under a strict stay-at-home order as hospitals became flooded by new cases.
The most populous US state has seen 23,000 people succumb to the virus, even though it has a lower infection rate than the nation’s average. But with 40 million people, the pandemic far outstrips cases in other plain numbers.
Health officials have blamed much of the increase on Thanksgiving gatherings which contributed to many of the new cases and the 18,000 patients now hospitalised.
California recorded its second highest number of deaths on Wednesday, at 361.
However, with two vaccines approved for emergency use in the US, many remain hopeful that the worst may soon be over.