California projected to reach COVID-19 death peak this week

California is projected to reach its peak of covid-19 deaths this week. 

That's when health officials expect about 66 people to die a day, because of the coronavirus. 

The sobering news does not mean we will be ending our stay-at-home orders any time soon. However, it does represent a significant step in the fight against the virus.

According to researchers at the University of Washington, whose projections on the covid-19 curve have been used by hospitals and public health agencies across the country, California will reach peak deaths by Wednesday. 

After that, the the number of fatalities is expected to decline.

While the loss of life to the disease is tragic, California's peak is far lower than in other states like New York, which had its peak last week with an average of 800 deaths per day.

A public health director with John Hopkinss University said that nationwide, overall, deaths from coronavirus appear to be leveling off. 

But that does not mean we should forgo our social distancing efforts.

"If we're not careful when we ease social distancing, we'll recreate the conditions that existed back in early March," said Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We could have another peak the way that we had one this month."

But why has California fared relatively well in this crisis compared to other parts of the country?

Health experts credit the Golden State's early intervention.

Santa Clara County and the Bay Area were the first counties in the country to enact stay-at-home orders in mid-March.

Within days, Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted the stay-at-home order for the entire state.

Those efforts have paid off, when it comes to flattening the curve.

As of Sunday night, the city of Los Angeles had 8,900  confirmed covid 19 cases, while the city of New York had more than 100,000.

Allie Rasmus is a reporter forKTVU.  Email Allie at and follow her on Twitter@arasmusKTVU