Handshake bans to stop the coronavirus might be overkill in most places

Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led groups around the world to abandon niceties and recommend against handshakes, which are now discouraged at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where high-profile companies are already dropping out due to coronavirus concerns. The gesture is also reportedly unwelcome at Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in San Francisco. Even youth soccer leagues in Canada nixed post-game handshakes.

The rash of announcements sounds familiar: during the panic of the swine flu epidemic in the US, my high school sports team was given a similar edict: no high fives or handshakes after games. Instead, we tapped elbows.

“Handshake bans are not a new idea,” says Brian Labus, assistant professor…

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