FARMINGTON – Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. and Aneesah McClinton, M.D., doctors at UConn Health have demonstrated a new alternative to the handshake, in an effort to reduce human contact and protect public health. In the midst of a global pandemic, the goal is to establish preventative measures to diminish the spread of COVID-19. The recent crisis has triggered reshaping behaviors around greeting etiquette, as hand-to-hand contact is strongly discouraged. A single handshake can transfer 124 million bacteria, twice as many pathogens than a high five. The Laurencin-McClinton Greeting (LMG) has already had substantial impact, appearing in the Editor’s Blog of the Journal Science. The LMG is the innovation of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, CEO of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health. Laurencin predicted the demand for an adapted greeting due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 culture.
“The new greeting is timely as social distancing restrictions are gradually lifted throughout the country. We introduce a new greeting that avoids hand contact altogether.” says Laurencin. While other forms of greetings are being explored during these unprecedented times, the most popular elbow bump is considered less than ideal as it is a common practice to sneeze and cough into the elbow region, creating a breeding ground for germs.
A Two-Part Greeting
Part 1 does not require contact and can be performed to acknowledge another individual at a reasonable distance away, an ideal gesture in a time of social distancing. An individual places their closed fist to their chest just overlying the heart to convey greeting to another. The closed fist is a power symbol and the placement over the heart conveys solidarity and demonstrates resolve to endure in this unprecedented crisis.
Part 2 may be performed when contact amongst two parties is permitted. In this scenario, after an individual has placed their fist to their chest, they may then extend their forearm outward at a 45-degree angle signifying the initiation of the second part of the greeting. The reciprocating party may position their arm alongside the initiator’s arm. Together, they briefly tap the dorsal aspect of their mid-forearms forming a cross-like configuration. The dorsal surface of the mid-forearm represents a safe zone just between the hands and elbows.
To learn more about the Laurencin-McClinton Greeting, view the newly published piece featured in the Editor’s Blog of the Journal Science.