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Coronavirus: Florida man, 24, strangles and beats up pregnant woman believing she had contracted the virus

Twenty four-year-old John Cory Newell was charged with aggravated battery after being arrested for the assault by the Cape Coral Police on late Tuesday
UPDATED MAR 20, 2020
(Lee County Sheriff's Office)
(Lee County Sheriff's Office)

FLORIDA: A man in Florida was arrested for strangling a pregnant woman who he believed had the coronavirus. Twenty four-year-old John Cory Newell was charged with aggravated battery after being arrested for the assault by the Cape Coral Police on late Tuesday, March 17. Newell who is a resident of Fort Meyers was held on a bond of $15,000 at the Lee County Jail. 

The authorities shared that the assault took place at an apartment complex. The relationship between Newell and the woman was not revealed.

This was the man's third arrest in Lee County, WBBH revealed. As per the arrest report, officers responded to a local apartment at around 11 pm upon hearing a woman's screams. 

They rushed in to find Newell choking the 6-month-pregnant woman. The authorities revealed that Newell had both his arms and hands wrapped tightly around the woman's neck and did not respond to any verbal commands to stop the attack, Fort Meyers News-Press reports. 

Newell has been accused of continuing the assault and beating the victim who was crying for help. The officers said they were able to subdue Newell after applying a "pain compliance" maneuver on his neck. He was also believed to be very intoxicated which made it very difficult to handcuff him. 

At the time of his arrest, Newell was rambling on about the COVID-19 virus and then started to slam his head on a concrete floor. In his latest arrest photo, Newell looks disgruntled and bloodied unlike the two previous ones where he was clean cut.

The victim revealed that she lost consciousness while he was strangling her. She told the officers that Newell attacked her because he thought she had contracted the coronavirus. She was taken to the Cape Coral Hospital as she was pregnant and appeared to be having a panic attack. Witnesses who were not identified by the police said they could hear her yelling at him "to get off" and that he was going to "hurt the baby". 

Under Marsy's Law which protects the rights of victims, the name and location of the victim were redacted from reports.

It seems the man was triggered by the panic stalking the US in the wake of rising coronavirus cases in the US. As of writing, the US had more than 14,000 infected cases and at least 217 deaths.

Despite warnings from public health officials, thousands of people in Florida had flocked to the beaches until beaches announced that they would be closed. We had previously reported that  Surgeon General Jerome Adams spoke on ABC's 'Good Morning America and shared, "What I really think we need to do [is] get our influencers. We need to get Kylie Jenner and social media influencers out there, in helping folks understand that look, this is serious, this is absolutely serious. People are dying."

Apart from the 22-year-old 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' star, he also named infected basketball players such as Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell to play a role in making youngsters aware of the situation.

He said that he got the idea from his own kids because “the more I tell them not to do something, the more they want to do it." However, the youth of the nation is bound to listen if the same tips for awareness amid the ongoing pandemic came from a social media influencer such as Jenner, who has a whopping 166 million followers on Instagram.