The world has been making progress in the fight against COVID-19. But the disease may leave a permanent impact on how people interact with each other.
Handshakes have existed for thousands of years. But many people in the U.S. are now willing to ditch this commonplace greeting in an effort to avoid contagious diseases in the future, according to a recent Business Insider/Survey Monkey poll.
The survey asked more than 1,000 citizens about a proposal by public health officials to replace handshake with an alternative greeting. It highlighted that touching one’s hand could increase the risk of contracting a disease, such as COVID-19.
More than half of the respondents agreed that the U.S. should find another way to greet other people. Only 11 percent suggested continuing shaking hands as a greeting, while 36 percent were undecided.
The top disease expert at the White House supported the idea that handshake is no longer necessary. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, even suggested that the entire world should forget the centuries-old greeting.
“As a society, just forget about shaking hands,” Fauci said in April, as quoted by Business Insider. “We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom. Because as a matter of fact, that is one of the major ways you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness.”
The Business Insider/Survey Monkey survey also asked respondents for other gestures that could replace handshakes. The majority suggested that people greet each other with a wave in the post-COVID-19 world.
Nearly 15 percent said a simple verbal greeting could replace handshakes, while 14 percent considered a nod. A bow may also be appropriate, according to 8 percent of those who agreed handshakes should retire.
But some respondents provided unique ideas. Six people suggested that people greet each other with “Vulcan salute,” based on the “Star Trek” series.
Another person said the “Wakanda Forever” salute in the 2018 Marvel movie “Black Panther” could be a handshake substitute. The respondent explained it means “hug” in American Sign Language and that some of its colleagues have already adopted it as a greeting.