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Don't Cough on Someone and Threaten Them With Infection

A man against a white background making a big cough while trying to cover his mouth
By Andrew Leonatti on March 30, 2020 8:39 AM

OK, folks, we know times are tough. Anxiety levels are through the roof for countless of us out there. A trip to the grocery store or pharmacy can cause someone to be way more nervous than they normally ever would be.

So, be nice to the people out there who have to keep going to work every day: doctors, nurses, cashiers, pharmacists, police, firefighters, EMTs, and many others.​ 

And, it should seem obvious, but part of being nice to people means not coughing on them.

Don't Threaten People With Infection

We don't care if you want to cut a line, get better service, or whatever: you should never threaten to infect people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

One not-so-nice guy is a Chicago-area man who thought he could get out of a drunk driving arrest by coughing on police.

While conducting a drunk driving stop, the man allegedly began coughing on police, warning them to back away because he had the "corona bacteria."

(Please note that COVID-19 is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection.)

After laying down on the ground because he was so drunk, the man allegedly hopped up, charged at police, and started coughing on them again, yelling: "Now you have the corona!"

For his trouble, the man received a charge of felony battery in addition to the drunk driving charges.

Stupid Is Also Infectious

A man in Odenton, Maryland, has also been arrested under similar circumstances. The 32-year-old man, who allegedly tested positive for coronavirus, also allegedly assaulted his roommate.

When police showed up at the house, the man allegedly started spitting at officers. Officers were able to put on masks and gloves before showing up.

The man was charged with second-degree assault and four counts of "exposure by an individual who has an infectious disease." But instead of being arrested, he was ordered to remain inside his house to hopefully avoid further spread of COVID-19.

Please, Don't Do This

Authorities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have also reported arrests from people coughing on others and threatening them with infection.

"Exploiting people's fears and creating panic during a pandemic emergency is reprehensible," said Monmouth County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

We are inclined to agree.

Depending on your state, you could face a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges, such as assault, battery, making terroristic threats, orharassment. Any of these could lead to time in jail.

And if you actually infect someone with COVID-19, you could be opening yourself up to a potential personal injury lawsuit. Please be nice out there.

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