Walmart shopper coughs on others and says he has coronavirus, Tennessee official says




  • In US
  • 2020-04-08 14:15:16Z
  • By Charlotte Observer
 

A man coughed on people inside a Walmart and said he had the coronavirus, a Tennessee official said.

He is accused of purposefully making the "frightening threat" at a store in Henry County, roughly 100 miles west of Nashville, according to a Facebook post from District Attorney Matthew Stowe.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, is charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and violating the terrorism hoax act, Stowe said Monday.

"Because Covid-19 virus is such a deadly disease, it is classified as a biological warfare agent and purposeful spreading is considered an act of terrorism," the district attorney's Facebook post said.

Stowe's office on Wednesday didn't immediately respond to a request for additional details about the case.

It isn't the first time someone committed similar crimes inside a Walmart, officials say.

In neighboring North Carolina, a man was accused of coughing on shoppers and saying he had the coronavirus. He faced a public health violation charge in Belmont, a city in the Charlotte area, The Charlotte Observer reported.

In Albemarle, about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte, man was accused of saying he had COVID-19 while recording a Facebook Live video inside a Walmart. He was charged with disorderly conduct and perpetuating a hoax, The Observer reported.

Coronavirus is spread through droplets released from the body "when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs."

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