A person shopping for produce at a market.
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • A man was charged with perpetrating a hoax after stating on a Facebook Live broadcast inside a North Carolina Walmart that he tested positive for the coronavirus, ABC 30 reported.
  • The man's arrest comes as similar incidents captured on social media have added to paranoia surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
  • For example, last week, two teenagers were found coughing on produce and near patrons in a Virginia grocery store, and they filmed the occurrence and uploaded it on social media.
  • The teens weren't charged, according to the Purcellville Police Department, but authorities warned parents of keeping an eye on their kids' social media behaviour to prevent similar trends or challenges.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A man has reportedly been charged with perpetrating a hoax after filming Facebook Live inside a North Carolina Walmart store, and, during the broadcast, claiming he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, March 18, ABC 30 reported. Justin Rhodes, 31, was the man found inside the Walmart store sharing over Facebook Live that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, Albemarle Police Department authorities told ABC 30.

Rhodes was charged with perpetrating a hoax in a public building and disorderly conduct, according to ABC 30.

This is not the only report of an apparent coronavirus hoax taking place in a public area. Reports of teens filming each other coughing in supermarket aisles as part of a social media challenge have adding to the existing paranoia surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, two teenagers reportedly coughed on produce and near other customers at a grocery store in Purcellville, Virginia, then uploaded videos on social media, according to news station WJLA and the Purcellville Police Department.

The teenagers are not being charged, as police found no criminal intent, but local authorities warned parents to be aware of teens' social media behaviour, specifically regarding "fear-inducing behaviour."

The Purcellville Police Department wrote on Facebook: "With school closures in effect, this allows for more idle time among children, especially teenagers who are often not supervised as closely. However, we still ask that parents continue to monitor their children's activities, including social media viewing and posting, and to discourage the promotion of any such fear-inducing behaviour."

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