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California recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic on Friday with 215 COVID-19 deaths, even as epidemiologists say the state might’ve finally reached a peak in the surge of cases unleashed two months ago when some lockdown restrictions on businesses and gatherings were lifted.

The 215 fatalities on Friday surpass the previous record of 193 deaths set on July 29 and are nearly double the previous day’s seven-day average of 117 fatalities.

California counties also reported 8,272 new cases Friday, lower than the seven-day average it started the day with of 8,852 daily cases. It’s also lower than the 9,320 cases it recorded a week ago on July 24. The state has a seven-day testing positivity average of 6.5 percent, lower than the 14-day average of 7.2 percent.

The number of patients in the state hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 declined by 2.4 percent to 7,999 on Thursday, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. The number of patients in intensive care unit beds with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 declined 2.6 percent to 2,163.

Experts said the slow in new cases could mean the state has reached a peak in the current surge, which started in June and July as businesses reopened and residents came together for social gatherings — with and without counties’ approval. That means hospitalization and deaths could begin to slow down later this month, although experts warned the surge in the Central Valley means the state is still in the throes of the pandemic.

Los Angeles County, the largest in the state, also recorded the most new cases, 2,609. That was followed by Kern County with 924 new cases, then San Bernardino County with 542 new cases. That was followed by Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Although Southern California still leads the state in overall cases, the epicenter of the pandemic in the state has shifted to more rural counties, where case rates are much higher.

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Imperial County has 489 cases for every 10,000 residents, followed by Kings County with 280 cases per 10,000 and Kern County with 209 cases per 10,000. They’re followed by Lassen, Tulare and Marin counties — Marin County has been the site of a massive outbreak at San Quentin State Prison.

The shift to agricultural counties has exacerbated the disproportionate impact of the virus on the state’s Latinx residents, who make up 39 percent of the population but 57 percent of cases and 46 percent of deaths. In Imperial County, 95 percent of COVID-19 patients with a known race or ethnicity are Hispanic, as are 94 percent of those who have died, according to the county’s public health department. Imperial County is 85 percent Latinx, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County reported the most new cases with 182 cases and one new death, for a total of 9,913 cases and 191 deaths since the start of the pandemic. San Francisco reported 152 new cases and one death for a total of 6,575 cases and 59 deaths.

Contra Costa County reported 93 new cases and three deaths for a total of 7,670 cases and 119 deaths. San Mateo County reported 71 new cases and one death and has a total of 5,469 cases and 119 deaths.

News Source: mercurynews.com

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Teen sisters in Virginia were ‘sex-tortion’ victims ‘of Canadian med student, 26, who threatened girls with rape’

TWO helpless sisters were coerced into performing sex acts on each other during an online video call eight and a half years ago with a man they’d never met before.

In January 2012, Marco Viscomi, now 35, was a 27-year-old medical student in Canada, when he baited two Virginia sisters into performing sex acts on webcam and threatened to expose them.

4In January 2012, Marco Viscomi baited two Virginia sisters into performing sex acts on webcam and threatened to expose themCredit: Western Tidewater Regional Jail

The older teenager, then 17, was participating in an online chat when Viscomi messaged her, according to court records.

Viscomi told her that because her IP address was public she was vulnerable to anyone who might want to take over her computer and that the same happened to his sister, records show.

He then sent her a file, telling her to download it onto her computer so he could make it safe and identify anyone that might be targeting her.

Once the girl saved the file, he informed her it was a virus and that he could now control her computer. He promised to delete it, however, if she did what he said.

4Viscomi used a Skype video call to force the 17-year-old into performing sex actsCredit: PA:Press Association 4Viscomi told the victim that if she didn’t comply in the next 30 seconds he would 'ruin' her and that she and her sister would be raped outside of schoolCredit: Reuters

After coercing the girl to appear topless for him over a Skype video call, Viscomi told her he photographed her, records show.

He threatened to send the images to her family if she didn’t continue cooperating.

When she told him she had a 13-year-old sister sleeping in the same room as her, Viscomi instructed her to wake up the teen.

The 17-year-old pleaded with him not to involve her sister, but he yelled and cursed at her.

He told her that if she didn’t comply in the next 30 seconds he would “ruin” her and that she and her sister would be raped outside of school.

After the call was over, the girls’ older sister walked into their room and found them naked and hiding behind a bed, court records show. She told their father, who contacted police.

Virginia Beach detectives tracked down Viscomi’s name with the help of Skype and his internet service provider.

4Police learned Viscomi forced a 16-year-old girl from Wisconsin to perform similar actsCredit: PA:Press Association

They learned he was under investigation in Wisconsin for allegedly pulling the same stunt with a 16-year-old girl there.

The Toronto Sun reported that US officials claim he may have victimized 80 other people.

Following Viscomi’s arrest in Canada, he and his family fought his extradition.

The Ontario Court of Appeal quashed an initial extradition request, saying there wasn't enough evidence that he used the computer in question.

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The Canadian government, however, eventually succeeded in convincing an Ontario Superior Court judge to extradite him.

On Wednesday, Viscomi, pleaded guilty to two counts of producing child pornography in US District Court in Norfolk.

He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, but could get to 60. His sentencing is set for January 2021.

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