'In our line of work, you shake hands': Trump and Pence continue handshakes despite coronavirus threat

Vice president insists washing hands with hot soap and water is ‘just as good’ as hand sanitising lotion

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 11 March 2020 00:50
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Donald Trump and Mike Pence will continue to shake hands to greet people despite warnings to avoid contact.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence will continue to shake hands to greet people despite warnings to avoid contact.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence will continue shaking hands despite health officials urging Americans to avoid touching people amid a growing coronavirus outbreak across the US.

Asked whether the president should continue shaking hands to “set that example” to the public, the vice president: ”I’ve been shaking hands, too.”

Mr Pence said: ”As the president has said, in our line of work, you shake hands when someone wants to shake your hand. The president will continue to do it, I’ll continue to do it.”

He said a “really good recommendation is to wash your hands often” and that “washing your hands with hot soap and water just as good as any lotion.”

As the number of patients with the flu-like respiratory illness reaches nearly 1,000 people in the US, including at least 30 deaths, the president delivered brief remarks on Tuesday, insisting to Americans that “we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it”.

He told Americans to “just stay calm. It’ll go away, just stay calm.”

Dr Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes of Health said that people should be taking every precaution “if and when the infections will come — and they will come, sorry to say, sad to say — when you’re dealing with an infectious disease”.

He said: “Everybody should say ‘all hands on deck.’”

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