Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases. Of that, there is no doubt — and one very specific disease (COVID-19), as of late. But in Britain, back in the early-to-mid-20th century, the phrase could be found on posters everywhere.
And especially during the Second World War. This was one form of propaganda that people could readily accept. The reason for the campaign was not to prevent infectious diseases from being spread — or rather it was, but that was only secondarily. No, the primary purpose was to reduce absenteeism in the workplace.
Mind you, the average sneeze or cough projects about 100,000 contagious germs into the air at up to 100 mph, so there is that, too.
Today, the UK’s public health campaign slogan has moved from the pleasingly rhyming couplet to the more urgently dramatic: “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.”