SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) – California is the first state to top half a million coronavirus cases.

It’s a record that no one envies.

California was the first state in the US to shut down back in March, and now it’s the first to mark such a grim milestone.

On Sunday, the state recorded almost 509,200 total infections.

But back when California began reopening in May, there were roughly 64,600.

“Governor Newsom contained and controlled how this spread in the beginning,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “When the opening up took place, we have more cases and that should be instructive to others that the virus is vicious and you have to shelter in place as long as you need it.”

Yesterday, California added over 9,000 new cases.

On May 8, it was just over 2,000.

The rise hit major cities like San Francisco hard, and state leaders fear the surge is due to residents becoming relaxed in practicing social distancing.

“We have to get more comfortable with changing how we interact with one another,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in a July 31 press conference. “This has been the biggest challenge when we find out through our contact tracing teams that people are still coming together in large groups and family groups. This is where people are spreading the virus.”

In Los Angeles, the county health department is now investigating a party for first responders at a Hollywood bar despite businesses being required to close indoor operations.

Top health officials say Americans following preventative measures like wearing masks could have positive long-term effects on fighting the coronavirus.

“Wearing a mask is incredibly important, but we have to have like 85 or 90% of individuals wearing a mask and avoiding crowds. That is essentially – gives you the same outcome as a complete shutdown,” said Adam Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health.

This as Dr. Deborah Birx warns the United States has already entered a new phase of the pandemic.

“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It is into the rural as equal urban areas. No matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance, Dr. Birx said.

The CDC now predicts 19,000 more Americans could die from COVID in the next 20 days if current trajectory continues.

“Some more serious measures need to be taken in order to flatten the curve,” said Dr. James Phillip, physician and assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital. “I’m concerned that the complacency we’ve seen with the coronavirus has led to these mass gatherings and a general disagreement with the science in many parts of the country.”

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