Orange County, California's Anti-Mask Hotspot, Sees Coronavirus Cases Spike

Novel coronavirus cases in California continue to rise, approaching nearly 421,300, with over 31,300 confirmed cases in Orange County, according to the latest report Tuesday on the state government website.

The county has the third-highest number of infections in the state, after Los Angeles County and Riverside County. It also has the fifth-highest daily case count (1,019), among all California counties, as of Tuesday, according to the state government website.

Orange County reported a 44.2 percent increase in new cases and 39 percent increase in new deaths on July 21, compared with the figures reported 14 days prior, according to the latest report Tuesday on the state government website.

As cases continue to surge across Orange County, several people have been defying California's statewide mask mandate in Huntington Beach.

Last week, several members of the public in Huntington Beach were seen refusing an offer for free masks in a viral video, which has had more than two million views.

The video features two comedian "activists" who asked passers by: "Hey do you guys need a mask?" to which they were told "No we don't, why?" by one man.

When the pair replied, "Because there's this thing called coronavirus," the man said "Yeah well, it's a bulls*** lie," before shouting; "Go f*** yourselves."

Huntington Beach, California, coronavirus protest, May 2020
An aerial view shows a crowd of protesters calling to reopen businesses and beaches in Huntington Beach, California on May 1, 2020. Getty Images

Back in May, a large crowd of demonstrators gathered at the Huntington Beach Pier area to protest the state's lockdown measures.

Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta noted masks are "critical in keeping people healthy and helping our businesses operate safely in the limited capacity they are able to," in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.

California this week outranked New York, the previously worst-hit state which formerly had the highest number of confirmed cases in the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the U.S. states with the most COVID-19 cases.

covid-19 states statista

California was in lockdown since March 19 and began reopening on May 8.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered businesses in several counties to be closed from July 13. More extensive closures were reintroduced in the worst-affected counties in a bid to prevent the spread of infection.

"We are moving back into a modification mode of our original stay at home order, but doing so using what is commonly referred to as a dimmer switch, not an on and off switch," Newsom said at a press conference on July 13.

Over 15.2 million people across the globe have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including 3.9 million in the U.S. More than 8.7 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 624,100 have died, as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

1 of 3

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. states and the European Union.

New COVID-19 cases in U.S. vs EU
Average number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the European Union. STATISTA