We can all agree that lying is wrong. We could also probably agree that lying at a time of international crisis would be truly ill advised. Especially if that lie was about having Coronavirus – so that you could take the day off work. Yet, in the midst of the pandemic, stories are arising that tell us stupidity is one thing that is not only immune to the virus but can truly thrive in its presence. And it can do so on an international basis, no less.

A South Carolina man was arrested last week after authorities say he falsely claimed to have coronavirus. He was looking to get a paid vacation. His workplace was shut down for five days, everyone was sent home to self-quarantine, and the business was completely sanitized.  

An 18-year-old Canadian woman from Hamilton, Ont. created a fake doctor’s note stating that she had tested positive for COVID-19 in order to get out of her shift at a local McDonald’s. Ironically, she actually handed the note to a supervisor (that had to go well). According to reports, the restaurant took immediate safety actions by closing the store entirely and sending all employees home to self-isolate. It remained closed for several days while “professional cleaning services worked to sanitize the store.”

China, of course, has been way out in front of the world on this one (Why do I feel that am I not supposed to say that???). Therefore, it only makes sense that the first recorded incidence of faking Coronavirus to avoid work would occur there. In February, a man in Jiangsu Province lied about having the virus because he didn’t want to go to work. This forced his company to cease operations for three days and 47 co-workers to be put under home isolation. Smooth move.

In Melbourne, Australia, an employee of National Australia Bank was terminated after their report of a fake coronavirus test result led to an evacuation at the bank’s Melbourne head office. The “colleague” – whose name and gender the bank did not reveal, took a COVID-19 test that turned out to be negative. It was not clear why the employee falsified the test results, but we are thinking they may have wanted some paid time off.

We are, after all, beginning to see a trend here…..

And finally, a 25-year-old Lakewood, NJ man is accused of coughing and telling a store clerk he had the “new” coronavirus when an employee refused to sell him cigarettes. He was charged with disorderly conduct after the incident. The convenience store did not close. The employees weren’t sent home. I don’t think anyone would expect them to. Some of those places would stay open in the middle of an armed robbery.

Stories such as these always leave us scratching our heads, wondering what people could have possibly been thinking. The answer, obviously, is that they weren’t. Some people just do not consider potential ramifications of their actions, or of impact beyond their own little ignorant sphere of existence. And it could be worse.

They could be working with you. 

And while we are speaking of ignorance, this pandemic, while giving us untold examples of heroism and goodness among people, is also letting us know that we have a way to go in order to be truly prepared for something of this magnitude. I’m not sure why, but I just have a nagging hunch that some people still might not really understand the risks and responsibilities involved.


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