Most big California counties are not close to meeting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strict standards that would allow a wider reopening of the economy, including dine-in restaurants and shopping malls, a Times data analysis found.Newsom announced Thursday a series of benchmarks each of California’s 58 counties would need to reach to significantly reopen. Can the county show that people have stopped dying from the coronavirus? Have new cases fallen to a manageable level? Can officials adequately test people? Do they have enough detectives to track down newly infected people? And do they have enough medical supplies? The Times conducted an analysis to see which counties could pass just the first two criteria — whether deaths have stopped in the past 14 days, and whether there is no more than one case per 10,000 residents in that same time period. Most of California failed that test. In fact, 95% of Californians live in counties that don’t meet that standard, The Times analysis found. Not a single county in Southern California nor the San Francisco Bay Area met the criteria. The 24 counties that did meet the criteria, for the two-week period that ended on Thursday, are all in Northern California and most are sparsely populated. The three largest counties meeting both criteria are Placer County, population 380,000, northeast of Sacramento; Santa Cruz County, population 274,000, south of San Jose; and Butte County, population 227,000, in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada. With the exception of Santa Cruz County, all 24 counties are located north of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and the Yosemite Valley. Only 2 million of California’s 39.1 million residents live in these counties.The failure of most California counties to meet the criteria demonstrates just how persistent the coronavirus is in the Golden State’s most populous areas. The Times analysis found that 92% of Californians live in counties that in the last two weeks have recorded at least one death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.Los Angeles County, California’s most populous and home to one-quarter of the state’s population, has suffered the highest death toll of
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