Behavioral manipulation—key to the successful global spread of the new coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2?
Human- SARS-CoV-2 interaction can have an array of various outcomes - it could be mortal, morbid or merely carrying minor health consequences. The very rapid global spread has raised the issue whether there are further multi-dimensional consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection on human behaviour, the key of its transmission. During the coronavirus crisis, odd, abnormal, and irresponsible behaviour has been reported in COVID-19 individuals, particularly in super-spreaders, i.e. persons with a high viral load, thus constituting also super-emitters. Indeed, cases of infected persons ignoring self-confinement orders, intentionally disregarding physical distancing and multiplying social interactions, or even deliberately sneezing, spitting or coughing were reported. While it is known that some other viruses such as rabies and even influenza do change human behaviour, this remains unclear for SARS-CoV-2. In this perspective, we highlight the possibility that COVID-19 is facilitated by altered human social behaviour that benefits SARS-CoV-2 transmission, through showcasing similar virus-induced changed behaviour by other pathogens and relating this to reports from the grey literature. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.