California on Sunday reported another 481 coronavirus deaths, a day after the statewide death toll topped 40,000 even as the rates of new infections and hospitalizations continue to fall.
The state said that the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 slipped below 14,850 — a drop of more than 25% in two weeks.
The 18,974 new confirmed cases are about one-third the mid-December peak of 54,000.
With hospitalizations and confirmed cases falling, health officials are optimistic that the worst of the latest surge is over.
Deaths remain staggeringly high, however, with more than 3,800 in the last week.
It took six months for California to record its first 10,000 deaths, then four months to double to 20,000. In just five more weeks the state reached 30,000. It then took only 20 days to get to 40,000. On Sunday deaths rose to 40,697, while total cases topped 3.2 million.