The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said it has referred to the New York Police Department (NYPD) and MTA police the case of two teenagers who wore hazmat suits on the New York City subway and spilled a bucket of mock “coronavirus.”
The two teens, who were filmed carrying the bucket on an L train, spilled the bucket on the floor when a rider asked if it contained coronavirus, leading some other passengers to flee. The pranksters, identified only as David and Morris, told NBC New York “we made it for entertainment purposes. It wasn’t to cause everyone to be scared.”
MTA Chairman Pat Foye told the outlet that he has referred the case to police. “Given the environment, dressing in hazmat suits and walking the streets of New York is an irresponsible thing to do. It ain’t funny. You shouldn’t do it,” Foye said. The liquid in question was a mixture of Kool-Aid and soap, David and Morris told the outlet.
The virus has killed more than 1,100 people worldwide, the majority in China, but no cases have been identified in New York. Riders expressed some annoyance at the practical joke, with rider Claudette Hodge telling NBC New York “I think that it’s a lot of fear mongering. There’s a lot of racism surrounding it. I don’t think it’s appropriate. But I’m not mad.”