COVID-19, aka “the coronavirus” is disrupting the world in a major way right now. While researchers search for cures, the only sensible way to slow the spread is to simply limit your contact with others. This is having an effect on big things, obviously, like cancelled events and a huge dip in business for most industries, but it’s also having an effect on small things. For instance: “What do we do about handshakes?”
I was in this situation just yesterday: I was meeting a coworker at a temporary work assignment and he extended his hand as he introduced himself. “I probably shouldn’t be shaking the hands of strangers right now,” I thought to myself, but in that moment, the overwhelming instinct not to be rude overcame my better judgement. “I feel like we need an alternative,” I thought.
Lo and behold, an alternative has been found. Apparently starting in Wuhan, the #wuhanshake spread across twitter as an alt-handshake.
In these scary times of the #coronavirus perhaps the #wuhanshake is what’s needed? Whatcha think, will you start greeting peple this way instead of shaking their hands? #adaptorperish pic.twitter.com/olg2PbFie5
— Timothy Sykes (@timothysykes) March 2, 2020
The move is simple.
You just tap feet with the person you’re greeting. No skin-to-skin contact or bringing faces close together.
Soon the shake spread everywhere. Like Kenya:
KEEPING ALL SAFE… ENCOURAGE FOLK #WuhanShake #coronavirusinKenya
— Steve Jay (@SteveJumaaa) March 13, 2020
And a news desk in Singapore:
No more shaking hands. Spread the #WuhanShake to everyone you know to protect yourself and the ones you love from getting the best deadly #WuhanVirus #WuhanCoronavius. https://t.co/e39iMCBleF
— Patti Kwok ? (@852Patti) March 11, 2020
It’s gained enough prominence to get reported on by the BBC:
The #WuhanShake is a cool #innovation that highlights the human need for social contact and how #adaptive we are as a species 🙂 pic.twitter.com/0arjFb4Mn8
— Viraj Kalra (@virajkalra) March 7, 2020
Almost everyone who hears about it offers their endorsement. It’s just too sensible and fun to turn down.
I massively prefer this to a handshake and infinitely more than European multiple kissing which seems to become more and more elaborate and uncomfortably long-winded the more borders you cross.
This even works in today’s multicultural #MeToo era.
Let’s do the #WuhanShake https://t.co/W38oo6YxrA
— Alexandra Phillips (@BrexitAlex) March 2, 2020
With that said, it may not be as new as we think…
#WuhanShake my foot! #KidNPlay invented that when I was in high school. pic.twitter.com/ElQjEGpYHU
— Madison J. Gray (@mjgraymedia) March 8, 2020
If it’s not to your taste, or maybe it’s something you can’t physically do, there are plenty of other safe handshake alternatives floating around, like, “the elbow.”
— Walter Cotte W. (@waltercotte) March 1, 2020
Just remember to practice the advice of health experts for the time being: wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and hot water, avoid touching your face, and do some social distancing.
Now’s a great time to connect with people online rather than IRL.
hug for some tp? ??#wuhanshake for tp!??
safety third!?✌♡♡♡ pic.twitter.com/8appcyUK2b
— ?????㋡*????*? (@1SoulWithNoName) March 15, 2020
Things are scary out there, but it’s encouraging to see the human spirit prevail. We’re all in this together.
What handshake alternative will you be using for now?
Let’s vote in the comments.