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Coronavirus Questions Answered: Social Greetings

What are your questions about the coronavirus?

ideastream is answering as many questions as possible, with help from local experts in a range of fields. You can send us your questions with our online form, through our social media pages and group or call us at 216-916-6476. We'll keep the answers coming on our website and on the air.

Is it rude to not want to shake hands in an effort to stop the spread of germs? That’s what Judy from Cleveland wants to know.

She says: “Please talk about ways of social greetings since shaking hands transmits germs. I've seen people link elbows, but that doesn't seem right since we're supposed to cough into our arms and elbows!”

Dr. Amy Ray, an infectious disease doctor from MetroHealth, agrees with Judy. Elbow bumps bring you face to face with someone who might be infected, and the CDC recommends keeping six feet away because that’s the range that virus droplets can travel.  

“My answer to social greeting is simply meeting eye contact and smiling,” Ray said. “If you want to do a foot tap, like has been out on Facebook, that’s a possibility too.”

Whichever way you choose to greet people, avoiding face-to-face contact is important, says Ray.

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