Don’t Spit on the Ground During a Pandemic (Or Ever)

Don’t Spit on the Ground During a Pandemic (Or Ever)
Photo: Floridian, Shutterstock

It pains me to write this, but for every loogie or spit wad I see hocked onto the ground during the pandemic, I fume just a bit more. This is a scourge that predates COVID-19, and it’s so ingrained in our culture to use the footpath or street as a personal spittoon that the trend continues unabated, even as people on the street wear masks to prevent transmission of COVID.

I know I’m in grave danger of sounding like an angry dad, but I really could care less: I’m here to admonish those who relish their loogie-wad, saliva-spraying ways, because you deserve to feel bad and you really should cut that shit out.

Spitting spreads disease

I know Covid-19 experts haven’t issued a public PSA about the dangers of spitting with impunity, but you should still know that it’s obscenely reckless given the currently rampaging state of the pandemic (especially in places like the USA). So why the hell are you spitting on the ground, where people walk?

COVID is transmitted in a number of ways, and yes, the saliva you’re spewing onto the ground is one of the vehicles by which this virus spreads. But wait, it can spread other diseases, too!

The BBC kindly laid out a few more of the conditions that can spread via saliva:

Diseases that are spread through saliva include TB, hepatitis, viral meningitis, cytomegalovirus – a common virus similar to the herpes virus – and the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a common herpes virus that causes many diseases such as glandular fever.

We know that outdoor transmission of COVID is lower than prolonged, indoor contact with someone who has the virus. You probably won’t catch the virus simply by walking by someone who’s just spit on the ground, but that still doesn’t mean you should be spitting on the ground during a pandemic. After all, if you do have COVID, are you helping or hurting by spitting in public? I think you know the answer.

Dudes, it’s not tough

Many of the conventional ways of showcasing stereotypical masculine bullshit have been cast aside by the pandemic, so it may seem like a great tragedy has befallen tough guys everywhere. But one thing that’s remained available in this climate is the ability to spit. The government can’t take that away from you, so congratulations, patriot. Still, the pastime of spitting has never made anyone look tough or cool. What you think exudes raw, unfettered manliness just spreads germs and puts you more on par with an alpaca than a UFC fighter.

It’s not a hard habit to break

Look at it this way: You’re not addicted to spitting. I will gladly acknowledge that certain allergies and medical conditions cause excessive production of saliva, so sometimes the need to spit is borne of an actual medical issue beyond the spitter’s control. But if you don’t suffer from some chronic condition, ask yourself why you need to do it in the first place.

It’s a habit or compulsion, but it’s not a necessity like breathing or farting. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you can break the habit. Or, if you’re going to spit, at least do it out of both sight and earshot of others. (That sound…ugh.) I hope for a time when more people will understand the relationship between public health and disgusting habits like spitting.

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