All Praise the Fist Bump

Handshaking spreads germs and is a bad method of greeting. I prefer an elegant namaste but that is slightly hard to coordinate on when the other person sticks out their hand. The fist bump is a little smoother and has a greater chance of being adopted.

A study by Mela and Whitsworth in the American Journal of Infection Control found that fist bumps transferred one-quarter as much bacteria as a moderate handshake and even less compared to a strong handshake. Fist bumps are better because of lower contact times and lower contact area.

Here’s Tom Hanks showing you how it’s done.

Hat tip: Bryan Caplan for always asking for the numbers.


So we can expect lower transmission rates in countries where the namaste and other alternate greetings, such as bowing, are common?

Sure. Like China, Japan and Korea for instance.

Exactly. Although to be fair, South Korea's numbers are skewed by the death cult.

The limited personal space in those countries won't help. In Australia you can take a step backwards whenever you like because you know no one is going to be right behind you. Not so in those counties.

I flip the bird. Nobody gets infected that way.

True. I was thinking about how some people have problems making fists and would probably keep their hand open and linearly stretched out along the axis of their upraised arms...a kind of finger-bump if you will.

Hilarity ensues.


Since Coronavirus and most viruses are transmitted by air how effective will fist bumps be?

They are aerosols, which isn't the same thing as air borne. Essentially, they are transmitted in liquids from the body and they can't travel very far. It's not going to float 100 feet, it might make it 6 feet.

No. Big droplets might "make it 6 feet". The aerosols that matter to the virus problem are tiny droplets suspended in the air - they are indeed airborne and can travel great distances on a waft of air.

Think of all the energy that can be harvested from the motion of those little droplets.

Nah, hospital floors are the real energy harvesting opportunities.

Those cultures compensate for the more sanitary greetings with less sanitary bathing, eating, and working cultures. Still would fine fine but for the fact that increased density and modern office/school life is pulling us in the more contagious direction.

I’d love to also see the data on the other common forms of greeting in the western world - hugs, prolonged hugs, hugs with facial contact, the single-cheek kiss, the double-cheek kiss, and of course - the smooch.

Tom's wearing gloves so it doesn't really matter how he greets folks.

Oh it does. He touches handles and stuff with his gloves that are then touched by hands without gloves.
Fist bump, ghetto fist, Kartoffel, name it as you like but live it.


He's using those same gloves to infect everyone else he meets. He's a carrier.

It is just a movie. It is not real.

So, you're saying ... that's not really Forrest Gump?

Exactly. It is a movie character based on a book character. I liked the movie, but it is just a movie.

I’ll prefer a strong handshake or a hug til the day I die. During a public health crisis, I’d forego it, but otherwise no. Absolute safety is not a worthy goal.

Remember, though, some cultures frown on going in for the butt grab.

I've always considered shaking hands stupid. Historically, the hand shake was intended to reveal that one wasn't armed, but "armed" with a fatal disease wasn't considered when the practice first began. Okay, shaking hands may not be as risky as drinking from the communion chalice. I've been fighting the flu for over a week. This morning I learned my godson now has the flu. What do we have in common? We drank from the same communion chalice at a funeral service less than two weeks ago. On the other hand (?), there was lots of hand shaking and hugging at the funeral. Communion chalice or hand shaking and hugging?


If it’s still bad after a week it might be worth getting Tamiflu. There’s generics available so should be dirt cheap.

Tamiflu and zinc.

Tamiflu is actually another one of those substances that the pharma industry markets so well. As noted more than a half decade ago.

The latest updated Cochrane Review, published on 10 April 2014, is based on full internal reports of 20 Tamiflu and 26 Relenza trials. These trials involved more than 24,000 people and the findings challenge the historical assumption that NIs are effective in combating influenza. The review confirms small benefits on symptom relief, namely shortening duration of symptoms by half a day on average. However, there is little evidence to support any belief that use of NIs reduces hospital admission or the risk of developing confirmed pneumonia. The evidence also suggests that there are insufficient grounds to support the use of NIs in preventing the person-to-person spread of influenza.

This latest Cochrane Review has benefited from access to more complete reports of the original research, now made available by the manufacturers, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. Along with documenting evidence of harms from use of NIs, the review raises the question of whether global stockpiling of the drugs is still justifiable given the lack of reliable evidence to support the original claims of its benefits.

Prior, you’re out of your wheelhouse.

That same review noted a 50% reduction in flu symptoms.

What are "NIs"?

"...but "armed" with a fatal disease wasn't considered when the practice first began."

Of course it was. Using infected people to attack others is as old as warfare, older than civilization. We pay lip service to avoiding biological warfare, but it's as much a standard part of war as knives, and has been a part of war longer than bullets have. They didn't have our understanding of how diseases spread, so it was more hit-and-miss back then, is all.

Which World War II movie is that Tom Hanks clip taken from?

I am always curios as to why when people get scared about infectious diseases they wear masks which have pore sizes to large to prevent inhalation, but never seem to adopt the wearing of gloves. I have never seen good statistics, but I do wonder how many fewer infections we would see if fashion brought back regular glove wear.

Certainly when I deal with contagious patients, my first shot are the gloves.

The mask as explained to me by an Asian is to prevent the launching of fluids onto others. This makes sense since sometimes you can't get your hands up fast enough to cover your mouth or impossible if you are lugging groceries on the subway. But yes good point on the gloves. That is definitely underrated and underappreciated.

Coughing and sneezing into your hands is disgusting, since these hands then proceed to grab poles on buses and trains and door handles that other people later touch. Why don't people cough into their arms?

Oh, I require infectious patients to wear masks on a regular basis. Much of the aerosols that come out during coughs or sneezes are larger than the pores and these get trapped in the mask rather than settling on others or fomites. What perplexes me are healthy people where them when not being sneezed upon.

Wearing gloves by itself does nothing. You have to wear gloves and change them after potentially contacting germs for this to make a difference. Otherwise, the gloves rather than your bare hands simply become the medium for transmitting germs.

It makes sense in a hospital context: you enter a patient's room, put on gloves on the way in, then discard them before leaving a room. However, it doesn't work in normal daily life in public. You would have to carry around a huge box of gloves and change them every time you touch a doorknob, shake someone's hand, etc.

Actually no.

Shockingly pathogens live for different amounts of time on different surfaces. For instance Influenza survives longer and transfers more readily from stainless steel than from porous surfaces. Skin surfaces are actually less likely to keep pathogens infectious than most anything else (we have some nice surface defenses), but gloves help with the biggest problem: reinoculation of mucus membranes. Mucous membranes are the best place for microbes to live.

People are far less likely to have contact between glove surfaces and their mouths. If we remove the gloves to eat we remove the single largest mode of inoculation from infectious hands. If we followed Victorian glove etiquette we would also be removing gloves to shake hands and then regloving afterwards. Gloves tend to lead to less mucus membrane contact.

Wearing a set of gloves for when you contact aerosols, removing them before eating or shaking hands, and then washing them periodically is very effective protocol.

The reason we pitch the hospital gloves is not to protect the doc, it is to protect the next patient. As long as I avoid bringing my hands near mucus membranes until I deglove, I avoid most infections (even in situations where I have worked with exceedingly limited soap, water, and alcohol). However going from the mucus membranes of one patient (e.g. removing a foreign body from the eye) to another risks transmission.

Thanks for this information, and sorry about my comment.

Remember when Fox News called Obama's moves a "terrorist fist jab"?

Weak effort - 3/10 tops (he's a problem-solcer?) - but it makes me happy that someone managed to con Mini-Mike out of about 75 cents for posting this. Thanks for the smile!

Yes I was about to post this. Conservatards like Alex will post an obscure clip of a white man doing it and suddenly it is praiseworthy?

Hey that obscure clip has a quarter of a billion views on YouTube

A virus is not a bacterial. These are not the numbers you are looking for.

yes, I suspect.

I'm not sure if you all have seen this example of coronavirus NIMBYism.

Apparently it is a big unused facility (good), but in a business district (bad). There is a Home Depot right across the street. Area businesses might suffer ... which would be a rational explanation for that city's lawsuit.

As an Orange county resident, I'm cool with it. But again, I'm not trying to run a business across the street.

Meanwhile, in effective American government..

Your President

Quoting is so much more fun - Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape!

What I'm stuck on is the column measuring a "prolonged fist bump". How long are we talking about here?

I think you take a half count before pulling back for the fingers explosion.

A prolonged fist bump is strange, but at least I could imagine how that could work. What about a prolonged high five?

A prolonged fist bump is a fight.

It's not really a "bump" if it's prolonged, right?

To go off briefly, but I think justifiably..

What has happened to this country, that we don't even expect the g*dd*mn President of the United States to spell the g*dd*mn word "coronavirus" correctly?

Is that what our best and brightest are ranting about this morning?

Good. The stupid jackasses in media are making themselves imminently ignorable. People will turn on something, listen for a few seconds, say 'what the hell are these people talking about!', turn it off, look at the cdc website for reported numbers, think a bit and come to the logical conclusion that there is something to worry about, not excessively, maybe pick up a few things to tide us over for a week or so, and avoid crowded places.

Take comfort in the decisions of the best and brightest to move production of almost everything to China, including the capacity to produce medicines and thing like masks. Someone's been complaining about that for the last few years, trying to get production back to the US, to the universal amusement and horror of all the best and the brightest. I wonder who that was.

By the way, there are screaming deals for cruises right now.

It is really so weird that a Canadian goes off like this in response.

I don't know what you want in a prime minister, but for an American president I want some basic competence. That means no f****** Apple or Android phones for Twitter. If you are going to use social media, you use a g*dd*mn content management system, with editorial review, on a g*dd*mn NSA approved wired workstation.

Anything else is complete incompetence.

But we have painted ourselves into a corner where seemingly intelligent people are trapped, they must say (for their various reasons) that even noticing basic incompetence "is partisan."

Oh good it's a post about fist bumping and bacterial spread. So naturally anonymous goes full on crazy uncle TDS on it. Because that's what sane people do.

It means, fundamentally, that you have no higher expectations for the President of the United States than that tweet.

Why exactly do you think I am a bigger threat to the United States than the president?

Why exactly do you think my comments on this page are a bigger threat to the stability of your world than that tweet?

Why do you spend your energies making sure that tweet in this president are not criticized?

You are going on about spelling mistakes. Settle down.

Italy seems to have figured out that the spread there was due to hospital mismanagement; something very similar to what happened in Toronto with SARS.

China made a mistake when they tried controlling information. Both these mistakes are probably as important data points as the detailed numbers, because these things ultimately are going to run their course, and the situation can only be made worse, not better, by responses.

So far in the US and Canada there are very few numbers, people are acting competently. The only thing you want from a politician right now is to respond to resource requirements, which is happening from what I understand, and holler at bureaucrats from time to time to get them off their butts.

The last president that got into a crisis with some credentials was Carter. It didn't help, didn't help him, and marked the beginning of the decline of nuclear energy.

Whose idea was it to move production of almost anything remotely connected to pandemic response to the country where most of them start? It was brilliant, just brilliant.

And you have your panties in a wad about a spelling error on twitter. Don't think it was a mistake. It accomplished two things; more people read it than would have otherwise, and the reaction it elicits removes people from the rational conversation about the issue. I suspect the people most upset are those who have been very upset at Trump's policy of moving production back to the US. Oddly enough.

So, your rational and unemotional position is that a spelling error was the only problem with that tweet, as a communication from the President of the United States on the pandemic threat?

The misspelling caps it, and should certainly make the scales fall from your eyes, but that's just getting started.

Sir, this is a Wendy’s....

Well done, Skeptical

That is actually the Covfefe Virus, the most mortal virus mankind has ever known.

Hah. +1

Thiago wins the thread.

and a kiss? two kisses and a squeeze? I like a head lock and a double kiss on one cheek, just in case he doesnt come back for one on the second cheek, that can be embarrassing.

According to famous foreign policy analysis magazine Foreign Policy, the West may be about to fail its coronavirus test unless effective leadership is in charge: . Now, more than ever, we need Mike. He turned New York City around, dealing with the aftermath of 911 and the Great Recession. Mike will get it done!

I did not know the situation was so bad. We really need Mike.

Viral infections, STDs, bacterial contamination, there's nothing more dangerous than the nearby fellow human, especially one that you don't know. That's the real fall-out of globalization, being exposed to not just the ideologies and obnoxious cultural traits of foreigners but their diseases as well. Ask the 16th century native Americans.

Is to go be a hermit in a cave. Let us know how that turns out. Oh, wait, never mind.

Mike won’t be answering the phone. Nor will Liz Warren be answering your smoke signals. Nor will “shoeless Joe Biden” be replying to your telegraph message.

No, it will be Bernie on the other end of the line, and he’ll recommend a Cuban quality health care solution.


Wow, that is $10,000 of Mike's money right here!

If it were me I'd ask for it back. Come on guys, put some heart into it!

Meh, that campaign is spending money so fast, that stopping and asking for $10K back would cost more than $10K in time.

"he turned New York City around"

Indeed, in particular he stopped and then turned a whole lot of black men around to face the wall.

The woman in the black coat and hat shifts abruptly from the outer sidewalk to the inner sidewalk when the camera angle changes.

All praise Tom Hanks... or else he might fist bump you into the cornfield.

No, that's two different women. The first is wearing a black hat, the second, is the one he's fist bumping. She's has the hood on her jacket pulled up.

The editing is confusing.

What if the propensity of handshakes to spread disease is load-bearing? A blood oath doesn’t work if you skip the blood.

Thiago trolls for free.

How do you do a prolonged high five? I want to see video of that before I decide to do any of this stuff.

This can go away. It was in response to something now gone that made me angry.

Still it's true.

Namaste Tabarukh

Sir, this is a Wendy’s...

The social meanings are not equivalent, by fistbumping instead of handshaking you will send a message that's not intended.

I personally think "this is a Wendy's" is an okay level joke.

But it doesn't really debunk the idea that presidential quality matters.

Isn’t it more probable that you think too highly of politicians? it’s been well known for a long time that you have to be a narcissist to be POTUS. That Trump is also probably a sociopath shouldn’t surprise you. After the debate last night, it would probably do you a world of good to just unplug and find something else to do. It’s going to be a very long 4 more years for you.

Anyone who take politics and who the president is so seriously is pretty much a crank. Whether you are dancing in the streets because of Trump, or posting in rage every day because of Trump, you're doing it wrong.

Just curious, is this a consistent belief you have, or a situational one?

Do you believe it's fine that any person in authority, be that the president of Ford Motor Company, the Pope, or the director of your local hospital, may be randomly incompetent without harm?

...that no matter who the president is, most of us will not have our daily lives or that of anyone we know affected in any meaningful way. Same with the Pope, or the president of Ford. No one man can do that much to us.

Sanity. A vague reminiscence of a moderate centrist...a king perhaps? Of messages?

But seriously, the main impact of the presidency is raising or lowering the status of idiots whose personal identity is completely wrapped up in a nonsensical and Sisyphean pseudo-Manichaean struggle against their own neighbors, who are completely in agreement with almost every major philosophical and societal question.

The Republic is not about whose specific moron occupies the presidency. It’s about ideological idiots not murdering innocent actual real human beings just because they want their group status to rise.

anonymous gets to pull the lever for Bernie, and hopefully that means he doesn’t murder Congressmen practicing baseball.

That’s democracy.

First of all, we should note that this is a defense in retreat. You acknowledge presidential flaws, and then take the completely untenable position that they do not matter. Anyone with any experience of US history knows that the President has power to set the American agenda for decades to come. This is only magnified when agencies and branches of government defer to new levels of executive power.

So how do you defend the worst possible thing as the best that could be expected? Not only are we empowering the executive as never before, we have a person filling the role worse than ever before.

It would be a bit more sensible a pairing if you combined a distrust of individual politicians with a call to strengthen institutions to prevent their misbehavior, but you aren't doing that.

The president matters far less than you think, and Trump won't be setting any agenda for "decades to come", precisely because he is so loathed. There have been other awful presidents before, and they didn't set agendas for decades.

You are overwrought. Your counterparts on the other side will all be saying the same thing about president Bernie too. It's all nuts.

Simple question, when George W Bush took the congressional option to invade Iraq, and did it for real.

Did that have any long-term repercussions for the United States?

You just undermined your own argument.

"George W Bush took the congressional option to invade Iraq"

A President isn't a dictator. George Bush couldn't take such an action without Congress agreeing with him of the necessity. Trump can't make changes of that magnitude without Congressional approval.

I don't think that really does.

I am arguing against investing too much in the chief executive, and yes the Congress did in that situation.

It wasn't just the decision of one man. It was a shitshow, but it had many fathers.

Look, obviously it's better to have competent presidents than incompetent ones. But history shows that even the worst can't do that much damage. And even the Iraq did that affect your life?

If you would like more examples though, some are here:

I didn't remember this, but the emancipation proclamation was actually an executive order.

You’re being delusional and are a political extremist. Thankfully California has red flag laws.

Trump has zero impact on your life. You need to relax, dude. We don’t live in a Dictatorship. Trump is irrelevant. He’s a non-entity.

Stop worrying about who the President is, and start worrying about normal life things.

Stop this nonsense man. I’m here to discuss economics with level headed non-crazy people. This Tenderloin Meth Addict shtick is getting old.

Either you’re an American and you realize the President has no impact on your life, or you’re a Troll.

What impact has Trump had on your life?

You don't have to respond to or even read his stuff.

As in your GWB example, presidents lasting impact is on the programs they begin. Trump hasn’t started anything that can’t be undone. Pandemics aren’t a bigger threat because of the current occupier of the Oval Office.

Strictly speaking he did defund preparation, but hopefully much was left in place.

Which can be easily undone. He’s not king. And if you really want the federal government to prepare for a pandemic, here is what I suggest. Have every media outlet shower him with support every time he starts leaning towards preparedness. Treat him like a potty training toddler. Clap and celebrate every time he does something you want and say “oh darn it, you didn’t make it to the potty this time” when he wets himself. The man has the attention span of a toddler. He just wants it to be about him.

You don't speak dead languages, do you?

The Tom Hanks clip is just the same one repeated ever time.
Note the guy in the red coat.

I had to see my GP today. At the reception desk they had a help-yourself box of medical gloves and a container of anti-infection wipes. I'm not sure that the effort was more than symbolic but it was welcome for all that.

Good luck not looking like an idiot trying to fist bump a superior.

I play doubles tennis a couple times per week and moved to fist bump a couple years ago for this reason.

The link to the paper only works for people with GMU credentials. I think this one should work for more people:

If there was a sharknado in Chicago, who would you want to be be in charge of the United States? Stalin or Scrooge McDuck?

You present the bacterial load; however, we are talking about a virus here. Two completely different things. Please get us viral data.

Too many strong handshakes in Australia for Tom.

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