When coughing became a tool of terror


During the Great Flu of 1918, coughing was seen as a public health issue, as this ad issued by the US Public Health Service shows

In Canberra, Australia, two men were arrested on March 28 for coughing and spitting in public.

In Hail, Saudi Arabia, a man with coronavirus could face the death penalty after spitting on trolleys and doors in a shopping centre.

In Blackburn, England, a 40-year-old man was jailed after threatening to cough and spit at a police sergeant and give her Covid-19. The same thing happened to a 35-year-old woman in Norwich. She was given 12 weeks for claiming she had the coronavirus and coughing in a policeman’s face.

In Northern Ireland, anywhere between 10 and 20 people have been arrested in the past fortnight, for spitting or coughing at police officers, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In a particularly telling example of such an encounter, on March 26, a 33-year-old man was arrested in the Creggan area of Derry for intentionally coughing in the direction of two police officers while he was in a police car. He had previously said he had symptoms of coronavirus.

Yes, follks. It’s true.

Your cough can be a tool of terror and will be regarded as such. Perhaps it’s time for a public service messaging campaign in line with that of 1918.

During World War I, the US Public Health ad on the dangers of the Spanish Flu epidemic read as follows: “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases – As Dangerous as Poison Gas Shells”.

Check out Jim Carey committing a “dangerous” act: