Some People Are Purposely Licking, Coughing on Public Areas to Contaminate Them


Apr 7, 2020


Image credit: Shutterstock

As if our times weren’t cursed enough due to the Covid19 pandemic, we’re now coping with people intent on making things infinitely worse. A man licked some cash and hid it in a Cambodian ATM. A Tiktok star licked an airplane toilet seat. A man coughed upon a grocery store worker and told them that he had the coronavirus, and another licked a row of deodorants in a grocery store.

This is particularly insidious behavior, considering the coronavirus spreads via the droplets of moisture that emerge from another person’s nose or mouth. There’s no reason to carry out behaviors like these, beyond the sadistic impulse to draw attention to oneself by creating hysteria and distress — especially because we know that the virus cannot yet be cured.

The ability to create shock and consternation is, in a twisted way, impressive to the people who carry out such activities, according to Tony Blockley, a criminologist from the University of Derby. He told Vice that, “By attaining that ‘shock value,’ you feed your personal ego. There is a status, a credibility, a kudos attached to it,” he says. “We don’t shock or scare for the sake of shocking or scaring. We do it to achieve something.”

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The power and feeling of dominance one attains after carrying out a sadistic act, and the encouragement one receives on social media after filming and posting them, is encouragement enough to continue carrying out such chaotic pranks. “In frightening someone…you are asserting your power and control over them. The intense psychological drive to be dominant is predicated by an environment that aggrandizes these values. Why do they do it? Because they can. They can scare somebody. They can control someone. These [people] would never see the people they frighten as ‘victims.’ They don’t consider that person. They don’t try to. They see that person as an object for their achievement—not as a person,” Blockley told Vice.

Sadistic acts like these may seem enjoyable to some, even more so when the people around us are already confused, upset. Words of caution and pleas for empathy may not work with this lot — so here’s a reminder that you can get arrested and go to jail for a long, long time if you attempt to disperse your fluids so liberally.


Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is a culture writer at The Swaddle. Previously, she worked as a freelance journalist focused on gender and cities. Find her on social media @aditimurti.


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