By Sharon Bernstein and Lisa Shumaker SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – On Tuesday, California was poised to overtake New York as the U.S. state with the most deaths from coronavirus, a sad reminder of the death toll from the pandemic even with the launch of the vaccine and a sharp drop in new cases offer hope that life will eventually return to normal. Deaths from COVID-19 reached 44,495 on Monday night in California, the most populous state in the United States, according to a Reuters tally that will be updated later Tuesday. In New York, which was hit especially hard in the early days of the pandemic, the death toll rose to 44,693. https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH–CORONAVIRUS/USA-CALIFORNIA/xegvbwkqwpq “This is a heartbreaking reminder that COVID-19 is a deadly virus, and we mourn along with all Californians who have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic, ”Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of the state Health and Human Services Agency, said of the milestone in an email to Reuters. Part of the reason for the high death toll in California is the state’s huge population – 40 million people. When considered in terms of deaths per capita, California, with 113 deaths per 100,000 residents, ranks 32nd in the nation. By comparison, New York, with 248 deaths per 100,000 residents, ranks second after New Jersey, which has had about 230 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents. Nationwide, new cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have declined rapidly while deaths, a lagging indicator, have stalled. The United States had reported 27.17 million cases and 465,440 deaths as of midnight Monday. There were 79,805 COVID-19 patients in US hospitals as of midnight Monday, the lowest number of hospitalizations since Nov. 19, when there were 80,318 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. But in California, as well as other states, the improvement masks a continuing march of illness and death, which remains higher now than at the previous peak of the pandemic last summer. The number of new deaths reported daily in the state has declined in recent weeks but remains “remarkably” high with an average of 500 deaths per day over the past 14 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference Tuesday. . “The deaths continue to be devastating and our hearts go out to every family member who has lost a loved one, who has been devastated due to this pandemic,” said the Governor of California, speaking at the inauguration of a new vaccination site. at Levi’s (NYSE 🙂 Stadium in Santa Clara County near San Francisco. Public health experts fear that a surge fueled by Super Bowl parties on Sunday, as well as the arrival of highly contagious new variants of the virus, could lead to another jump in cases before most Americans are vaccinated. . In an effort to accelerate the launch of vaccines that are counted on to stop the spread of the pandemic, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration planned to increase the number of doses of vaccines shipped to states beginning on March 15. February. The expanded supply will be sent to community health centers in an effort to improve access to vaccines for the majority poor and minority population served by the centers, the White House said Tuesday. By Tuesday, about 33 million Americans had received at least one dose of vaccine to fight the coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. “This vaccine is the weapon that will win this war! ” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Tuesday. Ten percent of New York state residents have received the vaccine, he said.