Tag: California

Is Jacob’s Well a Dangerous Vacation Spot in California?

Internet advertisements that include phrases like “you won’t believe what happens next” and “doctors hate him” have dominated the online landscape for years, often failing to deliver on their promises, and leaving readers clicking through endless slideshows with no payoff.

One such advertisement that appeared to be clickbait showed a girl jumping into what looked like a vertical hole in a lake, with the text: “No One Realizes How Dangerous This Popular Vacation Spot in California Actually Is.”

The image was real, but it had nothing to do with the state of California. The photograph depicted Jacob’s Well, a popular destination for swimming in Hays County, Texas. It is the second-largest fully submerged cave in the state. The image of Jacob’s Well had also appeared on Reddit and Pinterest in the past. We were unable to find the name of the photographer.

The advertisement that claimed “no one realizes how dangerous this popular vacation spot in California actually is” was hosted by Outbrain, and the landing page after clicking the advertisement went to Icepop. Outbrain facilitated the technology that allowed Icepop to run the advertisement. However, Icepop created the content. Icepop’s strategy appeared to be what has become known as advertising arbitrage. We described arbitrage in a previous story that falsely claimed “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek’s net worth “left his family in tears” following his passing. The basic idea is to make more money by displaying advertisements on each Icepop slideshow page than it had cost to run the Outbrain advertisement that led readers to the slideshow in the first place.

In the case of Jacob’s Well, it appeared on page two of the slideshow, which is quite early compared to other instances of arbitrage. However, the image was quite different than the one that appeared in the advertisement, and since it did not feature California, Icepop’s strategy for the advertisement may have been to keep readers clicking until they found the image from the advertisement. The image from the advertisement did not make an appearance in the slideshow story.

The Hays County website described the history of Jacob’s Well, including how it earned the name:

Jacob’s Well Natural Area consists of five land surveys that all use the spring as a corner to tie the properties together. These surveys were conducted in 1847 by a prominent surveyor names Bartlett Sims. In the early 1850’s William C. Winters, a San Jacinto veteran and early settler of Wimberley, hiked up Cypress Creek searching for its source and found an overflowing spring. It is said that Mr. Winters exclaimed “like unto a well in Bible times.” Thus it was named ‘Jacob’s Well’. The property changed hands many times over the next 100 years and became a popular recreational destination. Jacob’s Well Natural Area remains a popular recreational destination today.

The county also noted that the deepest part of the cavern system is 140 feet deep, and that the main cavern length is 4,341 feet.

Wimberley Valley Watershed published an informative video on

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom sets 10 p.m. curfew; CDC discourages travel; 15 college football games canceled this week

The U.S. death toll from coronavirus has surpassed 250,000, including 1,700 reported Wednesday alone. Hospitalizations across the nation have exploded, with almost 80,000 Americans now receiving inpatient treatment.

COVID-19 has now killed a quarter of a million Americans

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Happy Thanksgiving? Not so much.

New York canceled its massive Thanksgiving Day parade weeks ago. Houston followed suit and Detroit is planning a virtual event as well.

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Many universities are urging students not to go home for the holidays, concerned about igniting a nationwide burst of new cases. Some schools are suggesting that students that do go home not come back, fearing an outbreak of infections on campus.



a man holding a sign: With a map of the country's COVID-19 outbreak behind her, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a task force briefing on Thursday.


© Susan Walsh, AP
With a map of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak behind her, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a task force briefing on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chimed in Thursday, recommending Americans simply not travel for the holiday. 

“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members is coming to this family gathering and they could end up severely ill, hospitalized or dying,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager. “We don’t want that to happen.”

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 11.6 million cases and more than 252,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 56.7 million cases and 1.35 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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California lawmakers travel to Hawaii despite COVID-19 surge and travel advisory

A nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases and a statewide travel advisory didn’t stop a group of California lawmakers from flying to Hawaii for a four-day conference this week.

The annual policy conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project, a San Diego-based nonprofit group, has fewer people attending this year, but according to Politico, about 100 lawmakers and lobbyists from multiple states still made the trip to Maui.

The Los Angeles Times didn’t name the California legislators in attendance but confirmed about a half dozen are there (although the paper also puts the total number of attendees closer to 50).


The Fairmont Kea Lani, the luxury Wailea resort hosting the summit, told the Sacramento Bee that guests had to show proof of a negative test result before attending.

Dan Howle, the chairman of the Independent Voter Project, told the Bee that attendees are following the rules and wearing masks on the hotel grounds.

“Nobody has been walking around without masks,” he said. “They’re not complaining about it. Of course, they’re in Maui.”

This news comes as California has seen new cases double in the past 10 days and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a travel advisory Friday urging against nonessential travel and recommending quarantines for those who do travel between states and internationally.

Newsom is asking out-of-state travelers to California and residents who leave and then return home to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Hawaii also has strict rules for travelers, requiring either a 14-day quarantine or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours.

The Hawaii trip also comes after Newsom drew criticism for attending a birthday party with members outside his household at the French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley.

Newsom said at a Monday press conference attending the party was a mistake and more people were at the event than he expected.

“I need to preach and practice,” he said. “We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes. I shouldn’t have been there. I should have turned back around. You got to pay the price. You have to own it. This isn’t a practice I’ve indulged in in the past.”

The Independent Voter Project wasn’t immediately available for comment. SFGATE will update the story if we hear back.

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California lawmakers travel to Hawaii conference amid COVID-19 travel warnings

Legislators from California and other states are gathering for an annual conference in Maui this week despite a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Golden State that resulted in travel warnings by health officials.



a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop: Some state lawmakers are attending a conference in Maui despite California issuing travel warnings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Above, the state Assembly last year. (Robert Gourley / Los Angeles Times)


© (Robert Gourley / Los Angeles Times)
Some state lawmakers are attending a conference in Maui despite California issuing travel warnings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Above, the state Assembly last year. (Robert Gourley / Los Angeles Times)

More than a half dozen California lawmakers are among the 50 people attending a policy conference sponsored by the Independent Voter Project, a nonprofit group, at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, with some legislators’ travel expenses picked up by the hosts. The four-day conference, at which panels discuss various issues affecting states, began Monday.

The annual gathering, which has seen up to 25 California lawmakers in attendance in past years, has faced criticism because it is partially financed and attended by special interests including businesses and labor groups, which lobby legislators.

This year, lawmakers are drawing criticism for their decision to attend the event during the COVID-19 pandemic and as coronavirus cases surge nationwide.

The conference began on the same day that California public officials moved many counties back to the purple reopening tier, reimplementing the state’s toughest restrictions for public gatherings and business operations to stem the transmission of the virus.

“We are seeing community spread broadly now throughout the state of California,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

On Friday, Newsom urged Californians to not travel out of state and to quarantine if they do.

Dan Howle, the chairman of the Independent Voter Project, declined Monday to identify which members of the Legislature were attending the four-day event or to disclose how many are scheduled to fly to Hawaii, saying only that “multiple members are attending from multiple states” including California.

“IVP decided to move forward based on the Hawaii Safe Travel program and agreement from the hotel to provide adequate social distancing spacing for seating at all meetings,” Howle said in an email. “Based on that [program] and conversations with the hotel regarding guest safety we decided we could have a safe and secure event.”

Under Hawaii’s Safe Travel Program, which was established on Oct. 15, those attending the conference must provide Hawaii government health officials and the hotel proof of negative COVID-19 test taken less than 72 hours from arrival in Hawaii, Howle said.

He said masks and social distancing are required at all meetings and events, and the conference received the approval from Maui County required for meetings larger than 12 people.

The lawmakers’ decision to fly out of state for the conference drew criticism from Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.

“This is ‘do as I say, not as I do,’” Coupal said. “This is one of the reasons there is a complete disconnect between ordinary citizens in California and the political leadership.”

Representatives for some legislators confirmed Monday that the lawmakers they work for are

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California coronavirus surge worsens, prompting new pleas to avoid travel

With California staring down the barrel of another significant coronavirus surge, health officials are recommending residents avoid unnecessary travel — including for Thanksgiving — and urging those who do head out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days when they return.



a man standing next to a car: Healthcare workers with the Orange County Health Care Agency and city of Costa Mesa conduct COVID-19 tests Thursday at the drive-through testing super site at the OC Fair & Event Center. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
Healthcare workers with the Orange County Health Care Agency and city of Costa Mesa conduct COVID-19 tests Thursday at the drive-through testing super site at the OC Fair & Event Center. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The move comes amid ominous new signs that California is in the midst of a major new outbreak. Weekly coronavirus cases have doubled in just the last month, from nearly 23,000 cases a week a month ago to almost 48,000 in the seven-day period that ended Thursday, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.

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Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties have seen their combined weekly cases shoot up from about 13,000 to 26,000 over the last month. San Diego County saw its weekly cases rise from about 2,000 to 3,700 over the same time period. The county set a record this week with its highest single-day number of confirmed cases reported: 661.

Officials fear the situation could get much worse if people let down their guard during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“And whatever the hell you’re doing, don’t do Black Friday,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at UC San Francisco, saying crowds crawling for deals could easily become super-spreader events.

Though they were quick to point out that the state travel advisory issued Friday is just that — “it isn’t a ban; it isn’t a restriction,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said — officials nonetheless hope that residents take the guidance to heart.

“We’re encouraging Californians to stay close to home, to avoid nonessential travel to other states, other countries and, frankly, across the state if that’s avoidable,” Ghaly said.

The advisory, which Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in conjunction with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington, also asks those who arrive in California from another state or country to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Essential travel, as defined by the advisory, is “for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to Newsom’s office.

“Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians,” Newsom said in a statement. “Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

Ghaly emphasized that residents can reinforce the battle against COVID-19 by taking steps to protect themselves and their loves ones: Wearing masks in public, regular hand washing, staying home when ill, maintaining physical distance and, of particular importance with the holidays just around the corner, avoiding gathering with those outside your household.

California has generally

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Oregon, Washington, California issue travel advisories to slow the spread of coronavirus

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Dr. Ann Thomas, public health physician with Oregon Health Authority, explains the differences between allergy and COVID-19 symptoms.

Salem Statesman Journal

The governors of Oregon, Washington and California issued travel advisories Friday morning urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine for 14 days, to slow the spread of coronavirus.

They also are urging people to avoid all non-essential out-of-state travel.

The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and security.

“As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a news release.

Brown is expected to announce further restrictions at a noon press conference.

States across the country are smashing records for daily case counts, positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths.

Oregon surpassed 1,000 daily cases for the first time Thursday, reporting 1,122.

California just surpassed a total of one million COVID-19 cases.

And cases have doubled in Washington over the past two weeks.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Tracy Loew is a reporter at the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at [email protected], 503-399-6779 or on Twitter at @Tracy_Loew. Support local journalism by subscribing to the Statesman Journal.

Read or Share this story: https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/local/coronavirus/2020/11/13/oregon-washington-california-issue-travel-advisories-slow-spread-coronavirus/6273935002/

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California coronavirus surge prompts pleas to avoid travel

With California staring down the barrel of another significant coronavirus surge, health officials are recommending residents avoid unnecessary travel — including for Thanksgiving — and urging those who do head out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days when they return.

The move comes amid ominous new signs that California is in the midst of a major new outbreak. Weekly coronavirus cases have doubled in just the last month, from nearly 23,000 cases a week a month ago to almost 48,000 in the seven-day period that ended Thursday, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.

Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties have seen their combined weekly cases shoot up from about 13,000 to 26,000 over the last month. San Diego County saw its weekly cases rise from about 2,000 to 3,700 over the same time period. The county set a record this week with its highest single-day number of confirmed cases reported: 661.

Officials fear the situation could get much worse if people let down their guard during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“And whatever the hell you’re doing, don’t do Black Friday,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at UC San Francisco, saying crowds crawling for deals could easily become super-spreader events.

Though they were quick to point out that the state travel advisory issued Friday is just that — “it isn’t a ban; it isn’t a restriction,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said — officials nonetheless hope that residents take the guidance to heart.

“We’re encouraging Californians to stay close to home, to avoid nonessential travel to other states, other countries and, frankly, across the state if that’s avoidable,” Ghaly said.

The advisory, which Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in conjunction with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington, also asks those who arrive in California from another state or country to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Essential travel, as defined by the advisory, is “for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to Newsom’s office.

“Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians,” Newsom said in a statement. “Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

Ghaly emphasized that residents can reinforce the battle against COVID-19 by taking steps to protect themselves and their loves ones: Wearing masks in public, regular hand washing, staying home when ill, maintaining physical distance and, of particular importance with the holidays just around the corner, avoiding gathering with those outside your household.

California has generally banned large gatherings, but says shorter, smaller ones of no more than three households may be held, provided they take place outdoors in the hardest-hit counties, and that attendees physically distance and wear face coverings.

The worry, though, is that guidance may fall on the deaf

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California issues travel advisory ahead of holidays as COVID-19 surges

With coronavirus infections continuing to surge in California ahead of Thanksgiving, state officials are urging residents not to travel out of state for the holiday and recommending that those who do quarantine when they return.



a car parked in a parking lot: Los Angeles County residents line up in their cars for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
Los Angeles County residents line up in their cars for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the travel advisory Friday in conjunction with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold — 1 million COVID-19 cases — with no signs of the virus slowing down,” Newsom said in a statement. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

However, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that the advisory is just that — “it isn’t a ban; it isn’t a restriction.”

But, he added, “certainly if there’s any indication that the travel advisory needs to be strengthened, we will consider that in the days and weeks to come.”

The state’s advisory encourages residents to stay local and avoid nonessential out-of-state travel. It also asks those who arrive from another state or country to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We’re encouraging Californians to stay close to home, to avoid nonessential travel to other states, other countries and, frankly, across the state if that’s avoidable,” Ghaly said.

Essential travel, as defined by the advisory, is “for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to Newsom’s office.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

The advisory comes after economic reopenings were rolled back in some parts of the state and it became clear that hard-hit places such as Los Angeles County would not see their restrictions eased for the foreseeable future amid the widespread COVID-19 pandemic.

In L.A. County, officials said this week that more drastic restrictions could be necessary if case rates continue to rise. On Friday afternoon, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said Santa Clara County — Northern California’s most populous — would join San Francisco and order the closure of indoor dining. Other counties in the Bay Area are expected to follow suit.

“Every single action that people take is going to help keep people out of the hospital,” Cody said. “It’s going to keep us from needing to order up morgue

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California, Oregon, Washington Issue Advisory Discouraging Travel Two Weeks Before Thanksgiving

The governors in California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint travel advisory on Friday in response to the rising numbers of coronavirus cases in their states.



a sign on the side of a building: A sign is posted for social distancing requirements at an American Airlines check-in area at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) amid the COVID-19 pandemic on October 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. On Friday, the governors in California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories discouraging residents from leaving home to visit friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday.


© Mario Tama/Getty
A sign is posted for social distancing requirements at an American Airlines check-in area at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) amid the COVID-19 pandemic on October 1, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. On Friday, the governors in California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories discouraging residents from leaving home to visit friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The state leaders announced the joint advisory with just two weeks remaining until Thanksgiving and shortly after California became the second state to exceed 1 million infections since the start of the pandemic. The California Department of Public Health said the advisories were primarily intended to discourage “travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.”

“If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a news release. “This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

Those who do travel into one of the West Coast states from another part of the U.S. or from a country overseas are encouraged to quarantine for 14 days, according to the advisories. Meanwhile, residents of California, Oregon and Washington have been encouraged to stick close to home and refrain from interacting with people they do not live with to prevent further spread of the virus.

The governors added that rising case numbers will strain hospital systems already anticipating COVID-19 patient surges during the winter months.

New virus infections have risen across the U.S. and in several European countries over the past few weeks. The U.S. reported more than 100,000 new cases in a single day for the first time last week, a record that has since been broken multiple times. The nation set its latest record on Thursday with more than 153,000 new reported cases, according to a Johns Hopkins University data tracker.

COVID-19 Pandemic: Where Coronavirus Cases And A Vaccine Stand After 2020 US Election

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California’s total case count represents nearly one-tenth of the estimated 10.6 million cases that health officials have reported throughout the country. So far, Texas is the only other state that has also reported more than 1 million infections.

In anticipation of the travel and family gatherings that usually occur on Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that encourage people to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently. The CDC’s guidelines also advise those who choose to celebrate the holiday with friends and family to bring their own food and utensils, limit their interactions and gather outdoors when possible.

The holiday typically triggers the busiest travel week of the year in the U.S., but fewer people are expected to travel this year because of the pandemic. According to projections that the American Automobile Association released

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California urges residents to avoid non-essential travel

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California is hitting an unwelcome coronavirus milestone: 1 million confirmed infections. The nation’s most populous state is the second to pass the mark that Texas reached earlier this week. The U.S. now has more than 10 million confirmed cases. (Nov. 12)

AP Domestic

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said. 

The advisories urge people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourage residents to stay local, a statement said.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold — one million COVID-19 cases — with no signs of the virus slowing down,” Newsom wrote. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians.”

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that officials were not yet considering at a statewide stay-at-home order.

However, Ghaly noted: “This is a quick and rapidly evolving situation, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we appropriately protect the public health of California.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took more stringent measures Friday, announcing a statewide two-week “freeze” which will limit restaurants and bars to take-out only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.

“If we do not act immediately, we will soon reach a breaking point,” Brown said in a video posted on social media Thursday.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee sounded a similar warning.

“We have to rethink spending time with people from outside our households right now, including Thanksgiving and the December holidays,” he wrote on social media. “This is temporary. We will get back to normal. But right now, it is just too dangerous to gather.”

On Monday, San Francisco and 10 other health officers in the Bay Area issued a joint advisory, urging residents to self-quarantine for two weeks should they leave the region, especially if they’ve traveled on a plane or train where people did not wear masks at all times. Some counties also say the recommendation also applies to people traveling into the region from outside the area.

State’s top official urges caution

California is “absolutely” in the middle of a surge, Ghaly said. 

The state’s top health official said he typically tells his patients, “When I’m worried, I’ll tell you so you can worry with me.” On Friday, he warned Californians: “We’re there.”

The number of new COVID-19 cases has increased dramatically since the beginning of November. The state saw its fastest rate of rise since the pandemic began when new daily cases jumped 47% from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, officials said.

California became the second state to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases this week, the second to do so after Texas. While its infection rate remains lower than the U.S. as a whole, health officials

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