A man in New Jersey has been charged with making terroristic threats after allegedly coughing on a supermarket worker and saying he had coronavirus, said authorities on Tuesday.
George Falcone was given summons for charges including terroristic threats in the third degree, among others, according to New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal’s office.
On Tuesday, the 50-year-old said he “didn’t cough on anyone and never mentioned corona,” according to Reuters.
Grewal noted that Falcone was in Manalapan, New Jersey at a Wegman’s supermarket, when the incident occurred on Sunday. When a store employee asked Falcone to move back while she covered prepared foods he is alleged to have leaned forward and coughed at her on purpose. He is then reported to have laughed and said he had coronavirus.
Falcone reportedly told other workers that they were lucky they had jobs and went on to refuse to provide identification to a police officer when approached.
In a news conference on Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy referred to the incident, saying there are “knuckleheads out there” and law enforcement is working to stop “egregious” behavior amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In the US, the coronavirus has infected close to 68,000 people and caused over 1000 deaths. Over 25 percent of the deaths have been in New York state, which neighbours New Jersey.