03:14 GMT03 April 2020
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    A Virginia police force has launched a probe regarding reports that local teens have been recording themselves contaminating produce at grocery stores so that they can then upload the content to social media for internet clout.

    The Purcellville Police Department revealed in a Thursday Facebook post that it is investigating and seeking information concerning a March 18 incident in which juveniles allegedly filmed themselves coughing on produce at a local grocery store and then uploaded said footage to social media. 

    “The grocery store immediately removed the items in question, and has taken appropriate measures to ensure the health of store patrons,” the statement noted. 

    According to the department’s release, the alleged act is part of a “disturbing trend on social media across the county” and is particularly problematic when the US and the world are currently trying to contain the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. 

    Knowledge on COVID-19 is in its early stages, but information provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the virus can presumably be spread “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.” It’s believed that others can then contract the novel coronavirus if the infected person’s droplets are inhaled into their lungs or land on their mouth or nose. 

    The federal health agency also highlights that current evidence suggests COVID-19 can be spread by contact with a surface that has been contaminated with the virus. Of the 15,219 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the US, Virginia has reported 114 infections.

    “We are asking for parental assistance in monitoring your teenagers’ activities, as well as their social media posts to avoid the increase of any further such incidents,” the Purcellville Police Department said, urging parents to discourage such potentially dangerous and illegal acts. 

    In Summer 2019, a number of netizens rose to infamy and some even received jail time during a weeks-long internet fad that involved everything from licking Blue Bell ice cream and putting it back in the freezer to gargling unpurchased mouthwash. 

    While teens and young adults were seeking social media fame through their various stunts, some clout-chasing netizens, such as D'Adrien L'Quinn Anderson, also caught the attention of authorities. Fox 11 reported earlier this month that Anderson, who got in on the “#icecreamchallenge” and posted footage of himself licking a tub of Blue Bell in August 2019, was sentenced to 30 days behind bars and two years of probation. 

    The 24-year-old was also fined $1,000 and ordered to pay Blue Bell Creameries $1,565 in restitution to make up for revenue lost after the company had to replace the entire ice cream inventory on display. 

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    Coronavirus Outbreak Turns Into Pandemic (233)

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    CDC, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Investigation, jail, ice cream, police, public health, groceries, Grocery Store, coronavirus, COVID-19
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