There is an overwhelming amount of coronavirus-related information swirling about the Internet and all of us are struggling to understand the risks and implications as we navigate these uncharted waters.

The Santa Monica Daily Press will be providing science-based information to inform and assist our readers. While dubious or counterproductive claims can make good clickbait, they have no place in a public health crisis of this magnitude.

Before we continue with today’s exhibit, a note on terminology. Early on in this crisis, the terms coronavirus and novel coronavirus were used by the media and healthcare professionals before this specific coronavirus disease had a name: COVID-19. Occasionally you will see mention of SARS-CoV-2 which is the actual virus that triggers COVID-19.

Today’s chart illustrates the COVID-19 death toll in different epicenters by looking at deaths per million inhabitants.

As the graph indicates, California has experienced a very low death rate to date compared to other areas with significant COVID-19 outbreaks.

While many factors are at play, the fairly rapid imposition of social distancing followed by even more aggressive measures has likely helped prevent a more disastrous outcome thus far. That said, this chart is a sobering reminder of what can happen if populations let their collective guard down.

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