Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has been called the "rare source of frank honesty" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Never shake hands again,’ leading disease expert Fauci advises public

Imagine a world where no one shakes hands again. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, says we have actually arrived in that moment in the age of the coronavirus. 

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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Fauci said Americans should never shake hands again to prevent the spread of diseases, according to a report by Newsweek

“When you gradually come back, you don’t jump into it with both feet,” Fauci said, advising Americans about the new normal we face when lockdowns are lifted. “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.” 

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The ease in which the coronavirus spreads is forcing everyone to rethink the most ubiquitous greeting in the world, and many have already adapted fist bumps, elbow bumps and even nods as replacements to shaking hands. 

Fauci, 79, has become something of a household name since the coronavirus first erupted in the United States. He is the most vocal supporter of social distancing rules to try to stem the rapidly spreading virus and is often seen standing next to President Donald Trump at the daily news briefings at the White House. 

In the recent Journal podcast interview with host Kate Linebaugh, Fauci said an end to handshaking would help curtail future transmissions of the coronavirus and the flu. 

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

Fauci also advised people to not become complacent by a return to normal life, and said everyone should still wear “cloth face protection” in public. 

On an optimistic note, Fauci added there may be a “light at the end of the tunnel” by the end of April, Newsweek reported.  

History suggests the handshake slowly evolved into the greeting we know today after many centuries of extending the hand simply to dispel any suspicion or distrust. In ancient times, the gesture was used to verify that a person was unarmed, according to historians. 

The Romans next evolved the handshake to something along the lines of a forearm grab, also to verify that there were no weapons up one’s sleeve. By the 17th century, Quakers began using the handshake in place of bowing or doffing a hat, according to an account by the History Channel

It wasn’t until the 1800s that the handshake became common etiquette.

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