As reports on the coronavirus spread, people around the globe are understandably looking for solutions and ways to cope. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, not touching your face, and staying home while ill, many people are looking for ways to avoid shaking hands while still being respectful and friendly, especially if one can’t avoid meetings. After all, reports of Mike Pence shaking hands with 44 cadets whose fellow student was quarantined did not instill confidence.
Greetings, in general, are steeped in cultural meaning and association, and handshakes are no exception. A clip of Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer not shaking Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand quickly went viral, but as was obvious by both of them laughing and smiling, it’s not a faux pas or a rebuff, it’s just being health-conscious. While Seehofer simply smiled and refrained from offering his hand, Twitter has come up with a number of (pretty creative) handshake alternatives.
To get us started, here is that Merkel clip.
Consider, perhaps, a foot bump.
Or an elbow bump, as demonstrated by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.
The forearm bump?
Some people shared a few suggestions at once, including the wave, Thai wai, and elbow.
The NBA advised players to go in for a fist bump rather than a high five.
The “Wuhan shake” is a bit more intentional and stylish than a one-foot bump.
One expert suggested keeping it simple: Just nod your head!
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang offered a unique alternative.
As did New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
If the coronavirus is causing you or a loved one stress or anguish, don’t hesitate to check out these five free mental health resources.