California vs. New York: How the 2 states currently compare with COVID-19 cases 

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California hit a significant milestone on Tuesday recording more than 400,000 coronavirus cases, the only state after New York to reach that number.

This week, California is also set to surpass New York in the total number of cases.

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When that happens, and if California were a country, the state would have the fifth largest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Russia.

But just how bad are these numbers? Yes, they're yet another sign of California's concerning upward trend, but how does the state truly stack up compared to the rest of the country?

Let's start by comparing California to New York.

A graphic from early April comparing the two states shows New York far surpassing California in total number of cases. But that same graphic today looks very different. It shows how California is now about to surpass New York in total number of cases.

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It's a significant number, but the state says it doesn't give the full picture.

"I don't, myself, over read into the significance of that number," California's Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told reporters on Tuesday. "We're the largest state in the nation."

Population is indeed a key factor.

California has double the population of New York State. So, by looking at cases per capita, you see that despite surging cases in California, New York still has double the rate of cases as the Golden State.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the graph in a new window.

The biggest difference right now is the positivity rate.

According to data from John Hopkins University, New York's positivity rate average over the past seven days is 1.2% -- vastly lower than California's 7.2%.

But look at California stacked up against other hot spot states. Texas has a 7-day positivity rate average of 15.3%, Florida is 18.9% and Arizona is 23.4%.

Whether California trends upward or downward is still to be determined.

"The California story with covid has not yet been fully written," Dr. Ghaly said. "We're really at the beginning."

California was doing well when the pandemic began, while New York's numbers grew. Click here for a look at the tale of two states at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

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