Out-of-control teenagers have been caught promoting what police describe as the “disturbing trend” of coughing on grocery store produce “while filming themselves and posting it on social media” as the US fights the COVID-19 outbreak, which can spread from human “droplets” spraying from mouths.
The incident reported by police occurred in the Washington exurb of Purcellville, Virginia, just 55 miles from the White House.
According to a Purcellville Police Department report, “An incident occurred at a local grocery store involving juveniles reportedly coughing on produce, while filming themselves and posting it on social media.”
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Per the Washington Examiner: The report said that the store, identified on social media as Harris Teeter, immediately removed the items and cleaned up the area.
The police said, “The grocery store immediately removed the items in question, and has taken appropriate measures to ensure the health of store patrons.“
On a community Facebook page, one woman who said she witnessed the event wrote, “Punk teenagers are hitting the grocery stores, coughing all over the produce and the grocery items — filming it and posting it to YouTube. It scared the hell out of one elderly woman who was just trying to grocery shop. Why the hell aren’t these people keeping their teens home??? This is not summer vacay!”
The police investigating the case said that there “appears to be a disturbing trend on social media across the country“ involving teenagers coughing on food and filming it.
“We are asking for parental assistance in monitoring your teenagers’ activities, as well as their social media posts to avoid the increase of any further such incidents. We have learned that this appears to be a disturbing trend on social media across the country, and we ask for help from parents to discourage this behavior immediately,” said the police.
However, a Snopes investigation has questioned the veracity of the Purcellville Police Department’s report, with Snopes’ CEO David Mikkelson referring to the incident in Virginia as a “suspected occurrence“.
“we haven’t yet turned up any reports (verified or otherwise) of youngsters deliberately coughing on foodstuffs in stores (or other similar activities), other than this single suspected occurrence in Virginia.“— Snopes, “Is Teens Coughing on Produce a ‘Disturbing Trend’ in the US?”