As Coronavirus Fears Grow The Internet Discusses Alternative Handshake Greetings

With more people afraid of contracting the coronavirus, people on Twitter started discussing alternatives to shaking hands in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, there are 60 total cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Six deaths have been reported, and 12 states have reported cases of the virus.

The CDC website recommends "everyday preventive actions" to avoid spreading the novel virus. The recommended preventative actions include avoiding contact with sick people, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissues, disinfecting frequently touched objects, washing your hands, and only wearing a mask when showing symptoms of illness.

The CDC did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Corona handshake
French President Emmanuel Macron, flanked by AP-HP President Martin Hirsch (R) shakes hands with medical staff as he visits the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris on February 27, 2020 where the first French victim of COVID-19 passed away the day before. On Twitter, users suggested alternatives to handshakes. MARTIN BUREAU/POOL/AFP/Getty

On Twitter, people offered suggestions for different greetings covering the interesting, the clever and the silly.

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered a suggestion that she said she learned from local faith communities.

One practice I’ve used in no-hand shake situations is to put my hand over my heart and smile/nod at whomever I am greeting. (Shout out to our local NY14 faith communities for teaching me this!)

What’s your favorite handshake greeting alternative?

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 3, 2020

Other Twitter users shared other practical alternatives including tapping feet. Other suggestions included the classic fist-bump or saying "namaste" and bowing.

How to meet and greet in the age of the #Coronavirius - Made in Iran.

— Arshin Adib-Moghaddam (@Adib_Moghaddam) February 23, 2020

CORONAVIRIS IN GEORGIA @GovKemp on @GoodDayAtlanta -
“We are preparing for days ahead... while dealing with cases we have. Do fist bumps instead of handshakes, use hand sanitizer.”

— Kaitlyn Pratt (@Fox5Kaitlyn) March 4, 2020

Say Namestey, instead of doing a handshake. #CoronoAlert

— Dr. Rutvij Patel (@DrRutvij) March 4, 2020

Other people offered more whimsical and silly suggestions, that you may not start seeing regularly. Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang attached an image of Captain Spock offering the "Live long and prosper" hand signal in a tweet about finding an alternative greeting.

I hate to say this - I’m not much of a germophobe myself - but we might want to work on a personal greeting that doesn’t involve physical contact.

— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) March 2, 2020

Young adult author Caissie St. Onge had perhaps the most costly suggestion: everyone buying top hats and tipping them to each other, when saying "hello." British etiquette expert Grant Harrold offered a similar alternative, harkening back to the days of bowing and curtsying.

I think we all have to get top hats so we can do this. IT’S THE ONLY SOLUTION!

— Caissie (@Caissie) March 4, 2020

While the Coronavirus is around, I suggest we temporarily abandon handshakes and go back to the traditional bowing and curtsying upon meeting others. #etiquette #VirusEtiquette

— The Royal Butler (@TheRoyalButler) March 3, 2020

One of the most fun suggestions was American Independent reporter Emily C. Singer's shredding on air-guitars proposal, but she didn't indicate whether or not we should vocally mimic guitar riffs while doing it.

dueling air guitar-ing

— Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) March 3, 2020

During his monologue on Monday night, late night show host Jimmy Kimmel demonstrated other methods with his sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez, including bumping both knees together or tapping both elbows. He gave each a funny name: "The Patella Hello" and "The Hello-bow," respectively.

One twitter user stepped up their meme game and satirically wrote that while we stop shaking hands out in the world, Twitter also banned the handshake tweet format, just to be on the safe side.

😷 🤮

— An English Human (@English_Channel) March 4, 2020

While the internet discussed alternatives, some people were thankful that handshaking stopped and hoped it would lead to the end of the practice once and for all, including animator and voice actor Brandon Farmahini.

A good thing that might come out of the #coronavirus would be to finally get rid of the social expectation of a hand shake... It’s disgusting.

— Brandon Farmahini (@MrFarmahini) March 3, 2020