California governor promises to ramp up vaccine supply in Central Valley

Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Fresno County on Friday to highlight California's new initiatives to bolster vaccination in the Central Valley’s hardest-hit or most at-risk communities.

He cited some numbers, saying that 34,000 vaccine doses came to the valley this week and 11 vaccination sites were set up. He also vowed to increase the vaccination dosage by more than 58%.

Still, he said, he recognized the inadequacies of what's already been rolled out and vowed to forge on to vaccinate people who put food on our tables. 

Newsom's remarks come after the coronavirus death toll this week in the Golden State surpassed 50,000, or about one-tenth of the U.S. total from the pandemic.

The grim figure comes days after the U.S. recorded a half-million deaths.

While the nation’s most populous state has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., it is ranked 25th in the number of cases per capita because of its large population.

Deaths have hit the poor, and Latino and Black communities especially hard. People working essential jobs have greater exposure to the virus and are more likely to bring it home to others who share crowded living quarters.

The death rate for Latinos is 21% higher than the statewide figure and 7% higher for Black people, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Latinos comprise a plurality of the population — 39% — but 55% of cases and 46% of deaths. Black people make up 6% of the state’s population and account for 4% of cases and 6% of deaths. Whites, by comparison, make up 37% of the population but only 20% of cases and 32% of deaths.

Case rates are 38% higher in communities where the median annual income is less than $40,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.