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‘Did you cough at me?’: Coronavirus anxiety sparks transit confrontation

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A cough on the train at any other time may have been received much differently than it was on Sunday in Sydney, Australia.

Given the growing fears over the new coronavirus as it spreads around the world, one woman’s cough caused quite a stir on an Australian train with an unknown destination.

Andy Park, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist, caught the tense moment on camera when a woman’s cough sent her and an angry passenger spiralling into a heated argument.

In the video footage, the two begin fighting over the woman’s coughing etiquette, something that’s been a topic of discussion as an important way to control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“I did not open my mouth when I coughed,” she says in the video. “I coughed inside my mouth.”

The man responds: “It’s disgusting,” to which she replies: “Yeah, you’re disgusting, too.”

She proceeds to cough seemingly intentionally in the man’s direction.

“Are you serious? Did you just cough at me?” he asks her.

She simply responds: “Yeah,” before calling him a bully.

“Bully? I asked you politely to please cover your mouth,” he says.

“Yes, I did not open my mouth when I coughed,” she continues. “Don’t you listen?”

“The advice from the government has been—” he says before being cut off by the woman’s response: “Oh, just shut up. Look, just be quiet. I don’t want to hear this.”

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