Submitted by: Daryl Haegley, Director, Mission Assurance & Cyber Deterrence at Dod
People who are intentionally spreading and infecting others with COVID-19 could face federal terrorism charges, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) officials.
A U.S. attorney said the DOJ is working to stop coronavirus-related fraud and hold people accountable who are infecting others on purpose.
Federal terrorism threat charges were filed against a Pennsylvania man after police said he intentionally coughed on an elderly man recovering from pneumonia and claiming he had COVID-19.
In a separate incident, authorities in Pennsylvania are planning on filing criminal charges against a woman who coughed on more than $35,000 worth of food that all then had to be thrown away in what the grocery store owners are calling a coronavirus prank.
"What we're seeing is that it's quite possible that the coronavirus mutually fits the definition of biological weapon potentially under the federal terrorism statues," said the DOJ official.
"So, if someone is out there purposefully infecting others, whether it's coughing on someone or infecting something that they then give to another person - that it's just despicable. I think it's also criminal and we're going to hold them accountable," he added.