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April 9, 2020, 4:17 p.m. EDT

‘I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again,’ Fauci says

Infectious-disease expert says no handshakes would cut transmission of coronavirus — and the flu, too

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By Mike Murphy

Getty Images
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at the White House on Monday.

Could the coronavirus pandemic bring about the end of handshakes? You bet, if Dr. Anthony Fauci has anything to say about it.

‘I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you.’

That’s what Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most prominent face of the U.S. fight against COVID-19, said in a Wall Street Journal podcast released Tuesday.

“When you gradually come back, you don’t jump into it with both feet,” Fauci told Kate Linebaugh on the Journal podcast , while speaking about how life could eventually start returning to normal. “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.

“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.”

When asked when life could “get back to normal,” Fauci said: “It isn’t like a light switch, on and off; it’s a gradual pulling back on certain of the restrictions and getting society a bit back to normal. ... Bottom line, it’s going to be gradual.”

Fauci reiterated his no-handshake stance at Wednesday’s White House briefing. “I mean it sounds crazy, but that’s the way it’s really got to be,” he said.

Fauci added that if current social-distancing measures are successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19 through the end of April, it could be appropriate to start thinking about relaxing some restrictions.

Key Words: BBC journalist’s ‘brilliant’ take on the coronavirus pandemic cheered as ‘the best cold open ... to a news show’


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