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How bad is it? What California's coronavirus outlook is based on the data

Over 8,000 more people in California could die by March 2021 due to COVID-19.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 8,743 new cases for the entire state on Nov. 16, bringing the average number of new cases over the past seven days to 8,680. 

A week ago, the average was 6,078 new cases. According to the state's tier system, the goal is to have an average of less than 401 new cases.

According to the state's total COVID-19 cases dashboard, the 7-day average positivity rate rose from 3.4% on Nov. 10 to 5.2% on Nov. 17. The goal is to have a positivity rate below 2%.

While the state's dashboard is good at showing what has happened in the coronavirus spread, the state's forecasting tools give a clearer picture of how likely a person could spread the coronavirus and what the state's outlook could be.

The California Covid Assessment nowcast tool shows various charts that depict the likely rate of transmission of COVID-19. According to the current trends, the transmission statewide rate is likely increasing with an R-effective number of 1.22.

According to the Center of Evidence-Based Medicine, if the R-effective number is greater than one, COVID-19 is likely to spread significantly. If the number is less than one, COVID-19 will spread slower.

Ten of 58 counties are close to or below the R-effective goal of one. Which puts the majority of the state with a likely rising rate of transmission.

Currently, an estimated 73% of people wear a mask in California, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). If even 22% more people wore masks, the projected number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations could decrease.

If more people wore masks, the IHME projects the state could keep infections below an estimated 11,798 new infections. Without more people wearing masks, current projections show infections could reach a peak of 31,823 new infections by March 1, 2021.

The IHME predicts, by March 1, 2021, roughly 22,820 people could die from the coronavirus even if 95% of people wear masks. The number of projected deaths increases to 27,078 if more people do not wear masks and with loosened restrictions.

CDPH reported 18,299 people died of the coronavirus as of Nov. 16.

Roughly 14 to 21 days after a rise in cases, the state sees a rise in hospitalizations, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Newsom said coronavirus patients took up roughly 5% of hospital beds and 13% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds statewide as of Nov. 16. In the IHME projections, without any intervention, the percentage of coronavirus patients could increase to 20% for hospital beds by March 1, 2021, and fill all ICU beds by Jan. 30, 2021.

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