If You're Still Coughing Into Your Fist, I'm Not Sure What to Tell You

Screenshot via Contagion/YouTube.
Screenshot via Contagion/YouTube.

A significant chunk of the Jezebel staff, including, most importantly, me, is working from home today citing various communicable illnesses. I can’t be totally sure why, but I assume it’s because the world is filled with drooling boneheads who don’t even know how to cough correctly.

A few days ago, I was standing on a crowded train when a miserable looking woman sitting near me let out a long, rattling cough. She aimed the cough, oddly, at her fist—after which the germs, upon impact, immediately ricocheted back up towards my face and hands. What did she think was going to happen, when she closed her fist and coughed into it? Did she think the germs would travel where she told them to go? Did she think they would stay within the confines of that tiny open surface area?

Did she anticipate that the blogger next to her would subsequently try to hold her breath for the remaining 30 seconds until her stop at Atlantic Avenue, and then quickly give up, and try to stick her head towards the breathing space of the woman on her other side, who would close her eyes and sigh very loudly?


Cough into your sleeve. Cough inside your shirt. Shove a giant boulder in your pie hole and cough towards the inside of your own skull, for all I care. But don’t you dare cough into your fist.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.

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