Corporations are actually making us ill, but not in the ways that people think. Actually, I take that back, corporations are convincing us that we're sick even when we're perfectly healthy.
First, coughing and sneezing has never been shown to spread illness, ever. I imagine you saying "but doctors ...", the fact is that doctors are not scientists.
First, most bacteria are not airborne, they die when they dry out. So very few coughs will ever transmit any bacteria, unless you cover your mouth.
That's right, coughing or sneezing into your hands increases your chances of spreading something because your skin is perfect for them to survive on. We cover a cough or sneeze out of respect for others, but really it can potentially cause them to get sick from it.
Now here's the fun part, the potential is actually negligible. You read that right, most coughing and sneezing is caused by basic environmental factors, even chronic coughing.
Here's a small list of those innocent and perfectly healthy reasons to cough or sneeze that doctors don't tell you about:
1. Dry air.
2. Dust, miniscule amounts can trigger both.
3. Pollution, even a tiny bit.
4. Indigestion, which often causes throat irritation.
5. Cancer in almost any organ, though this is really bad to get, you can't pass it through coughing and sneezing.
6. Perfumes, which are technically pollution but most people don't know that.
7. Minor infections, these cannot be spread to another person.
8. Dander, the dry skin of any organism, even yourself.
9. Swallowing food, if food gets stuck to your throat it will trigger coughing fits.
10. Anything in the sinus cavity can drip into your throat and irritate it.
There are literally thousands of more things which will cause coughing or sneezing that are not a reason for concern. Actually, if you don't cough or sneeze your are more likely to suffer complications or even die.
Now, the list of things which you can spread by coughing or sneezing around someone: none.
It is not being around a person who is coughing that spreads it, it is only if they expel moisture, have a bacteria or virus that can survive in saliva, and that moisture lands on you. Or the moisture can land on their hands then they touch your skin or hair.
So why do doctors claim coughing and sneezing can spread deadly diseases? Because the companies that sell products marketed to "keep us safe" convinced them it can.
The paper industry is notorious for underhanded marketing tactics like this, and they are the ones still fueling this myth. From masks to tissues, none of which have been shown to slow the spread of disease, and chemically they become huge liabilities as they actually give bacteria and viruses a great breeding ground.
Other products that actually make us ill are the cough suppressant. Unless you know what's causing the cough, preventing it could mean your death.
The body evolved to cough as a method of dispelling particulates which could be harmful, even carcinogens. So the corporations convinced you that coughing is bad, they then convinced your doctor to support this claim, just to make huge profits off your illness that you probably don't even have.