While there is nothing humorous about the coronavirus, as the death toll in mainland China has surpassed 1,100 people. China’s National Health Commission reported that a total of 108 people died on Monday — this being the first time a single-day death toll has reached triple digits.
In addition, the first U.S. evacuee from China known to be infected with the virus has been identified after being mistakenly being released from a San Diego hospital, only to later return.
So it’s understandable that people’s anxiety level is creeping up, which only makes a prank on the New York subway that much more humorous, albeit, in a depraved, evil sort of way.
Two teens decked out in full-body hazmat suits are recorded riding on a New York subway car with a vat of liquid that is supposed to be COVID-19, the newly appointed official name of the coronavirus.
Stickers on the container proclaim in all caps: “WARNING.”
“I hope that’s Kool-Aid,” one passenger said — in the end, that’s exactly what the liquid was.
Another asked, “Is that coronavirus?”
This prompted a hearty thumbs up from the one carrying the container.
The young man proceeds to at first open the lid, drawing major protests, but then, as might be expected, he “accidentally” spills the virus on the train.
Terrified straphangers run away screaming as the liquid quickly spreads throughout the subway car.
The pranksters were identified by Insider as Instagram jokesters David Flores, 17, and Morris Cordewell, 19, of Queens.
The scenario was so far-fetched that not all riders bought into it, as several look on skeptically instead of fleeing. On the other hand, some reacted so forcefully, that the hazmat suit-wearing teen called out, “It’s a prank! It’s a prank!”
“The first half people were kinda scared,” Cordewell told Insider. “After we were like ‘Yo it’s a prank,’ people were laughing.”
In a sign of encouragement for our society, he added that some people figured out on their own that it was a prank.
“There was one lady with her kids sitting next to me just laughing the whole time. I don’t know how she knew it was a joke, but she knew it was a joke the whole time,” Cordewell said.
A man in Russia pulled off a coronavirus prank of his own, except that authorities there didn’t find any humor in his stunt.
According to the Russian television network RT, the man faces up to five years in prison after he fell on the floor of the train while wearing a surgical mask, faking serious convulsions when people try to assist him.
Someone, a likely accomplice, says out loud that the man has the coronavirus, causing people to panic.
A prankster is facing up to five years in prison for causing panic on the Moscow underground pic.twitter.com/wUnrrCyqJl
— RT (@RT_com) February 12, 2020
As for the incident on the New York subway, social media was conflicted about whether this was actually funny or not.
Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
Lock them up until they grow up!
— CincyGirl (@KEverhard) February 12, 2020
Come on, I know in some cities they can use public transport to move medical supplies quickly, but if people genuinely believe they’d transport coronavirus in a tub easy to spill on a metro then they deserve the shock of the prank ?
— Ryan Jarvis (@ryanjarv) February 12, 2020
It’s wrong but funny.
— LochedIN (@LochedIN) February 12, 2020
Not funny and not what commuters need to deal with. 6 months in prison would be just. I should be a judge.
— Anthony D’Amico (@Damico_AJ) February 12, 2020
This is not funny imo https://t.co/m9TQ4x24tZ
— Waiting for you Anpanman 🎶 (@guinea_wrangler) February 12, 2020
Funny! 😳 https://t.co/ttYzHjCsju
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) February 12, 2020
Like shouting "fire" in a theater or "bomb" while on a plane.
— Douglas C Duckworth (@ifelsefi) February 12, 2020
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