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Dr. Fauci: ‘I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci foresees a different America after the coronavirus pandemic is over and thinks handshakes should be avoided to prevent another outbreak.

The director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force suggested that future transmissions of the novel coronavirus and even influenza cases could be reduced if Americans would just stop shaking hands.

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Fauci shared his thoughts during an interview with The Journal podcast, discussing the eventual return to normalcy after the global pandemic, saying he hoped to see “light at the end of the tunnel” by the end of this month.

“When you gradually come back, you don’t jump into it with both feet. You say what are the things you could still do and still approach normal. One of them is absolute compulsive hand washing. The other is you don’t ever shake anybody’s hands,” Fauci said.

His suggestion that people wear “cloth face protection” if six-foot separation in social distancing guidelines could not be followed prompted host Kate Linebaugh to point out that the president’s task force did not appear to adhere to the rules during White House press briefings.

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good here. The task force group is a little bit different,” Fauci responded.

“Since we’re around the president… it’s got to be clear that we’re not endangering him. So I get tested frequently and I get my temperature taken eight, nine times a day. Every time you go into a different room in the White House you get your temperature taken,” Trump’s leading infectious disease expert added.

“So I don’t think you should judge the use or not of masks and physical separation what you see with the task force for the rest of the country, it really is different,” Fauci said.

He went on to discuss what it could look like as Americans ease back into normal life once the pandemic has passed, noting that crowd sizes at events and even restaurants could be looked at differently.

“But can I as a resident of New York City hug my 77-year-old mother with vulnerable respiratory systems?” the podcast show host asked.

“I mean I don’t think you should do that now. You’re in New York City. You’re in a very vulnerable situation in regard to infection,” Fauci answered.

“But when this goes down, and gets down to almost zero, when we get to that, then I think what’s important… there is an antibody test that will be widely distributed pretty soon, in the next few weeks, that will allow you to know whether or not you’ve actually been infected,” he added.

“I can imagine a situation where you take an antibody test and you are absolutely positive that you were infected and you did well, then you could hug the heck out of your grandmother and not worry about it,” he quipped.

But Fauci theorized that there will be a new normal as he brought up his pink slip for handshakes.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to get back to free-flying lack of attention to what transmissibility of infections are. I think that people are going to be careful,” he told Linebaugh.

“I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you,” Fauci added. “Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease, it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country.”

Fauci’s idea prompted many reactions on Twitter:

Frieda Powers


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