California is now the first state in the U.S. to record more than two million COVID-19 cases.

In a Los Angeles Times report early Thursday morning, the publication said the two-million mark had been hit in their county-by-county tally of statewide cases. Johns Hopkins University also confirmed the same milestone, reporting on Thursday that the state now had 2,002,494 confirmed cases and 23,558 deaths.

Pandemic numbers are particularly troubling in Los Angeles County, with Department of Health Services director Dr. Christina Ghaly telling the Times that the situation "could easily become catastrophic" next month.

"It is very important that people follow the guidance that is being issued virtually everywhere you look and listen," Ghaly said, specifically highlighting the importance of not traveling for the holidays.

While the state's infection rate is lower than the national average, the size of its population and recent surges in numbers have regional health officials and political leaders passionately urging residents to take seriously the task of continued social distancing. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for example, called the current pandemic reality facing his constituents "maybe the darkest day in our city's history."

Earlier this week, the CDC said 2020 will go down as the deadliest year in U.S. history, with the total number of deaths expected to surpass three million for the first time. 

Also this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the finalization of a new agreement with the U.S. agreement in which an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine would be purchased for $1.95 billion.