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Ludicrous 'coronavirus challenge' spreads contagion and fear

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, the "coronavirus challenge" and "coronavirus parties" are ugly new trends that have taken off on social media.

Ian Miles Cheong Montreal, QC
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As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, an ugly new trend has taken off on social media, creating fresh concerns that items like soaps and hand sanitizer may too be tainted with the deadly pathogen. Reports have also surfaced about groups of “coronavirus parties” held by young adults in open defiance of social distancing ordinances.

The so-called “coronavirus challenge” descended to new lows when a Missouri man licked a row of sanitation items, recorded in a social media video titled “Who’s afraid of the coronavirus?” It was uploaded on March 11.

26-year-old Cody Pfister was arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat after the video went viral on Twitter. Police in Warrenton, MO, told the River Front Times that the department was contacted by people in Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom who were alarmed by Pfister’s conduct.

"We take these complaints very seriously and would like to thank all of those who reported the video so the issue could be addressed," police said.

Pfister isn’t the only person to run afoul of the law as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In Wisconsin, a 53-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly licking the door handle of a grocery store freezer to “protest” the COVID-19 coronavirus. She was caught after a store manager sanitizing the freezer section made eye contact with her, which prompted her to become confrontational and lick the door handle.

In Kentucky, at least one person has been infected with the deadly illness after taking part of a so-called “coronavirus party” with a group of others. CNN reports that partygoers got together with the intent of defying the state’s guidance on social distancing.

Governor Andy Beshear said that the group thought they were “invincible” and wouldn’t become infected. "This is one that makes me mad," the governor said. "We have to be much better than that."

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