California has become the U.S. state hardest hit by the coronavirus disease, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
The statistics shows that there were no fewer than 409,000 confirmed cases in the state as of Wednesday morning.
This is 1,000 cases higher than those of New York, the former national epicentre, which had no fewer than 408,000 infections since the outbreak of the virus.
Out of 66,169 tests conducted in New York on Monday, only 855 came out positive, representing 1.29 per cent positivity rate.
According to the state governor, Andrew Cuomo, two deaths were recorded on Monday, representing a significant drop in the daily fatality figure from close to 1,000 in April.
The John Hopkins data indicate that the U.S. has become the worst-affected country, with no fewer than 3.9 million confirmed cases and 142,090 fatalities.
For the first time on Tuesday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the severity of the pandemic, warning that it “will probably get worse before it gets better”.
“It is something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” Trump said at a White House news briefing.
He canvassed the use of masks, especially by young people, where physical distancing is impossible.
The Director of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Robert Redfield, echoes the advice, saying masks were the “most powerful tool” against the coronavirus.
“This is the greatest public health crisis that our nation has faced in more than a century.
“If all Americans would embrace masks as part of their personal responsibility to confront this outbreak, we could actually have a very significant impact on the outbreak that we’re seeing across the country in the next four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has warned that coronavirus cases in children is steadily rising and nearing the level of 65-year-old or older patients.
Local media reports cited internal FEMA memos indicating that children between the ages of 12 and 17 appeared to become infected at a higher rate than younger kids.