Today’s coronavirus news: an epidemiologist weighs in on handshakes this Thanksgiving weekend

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:45 am: This weekend, people from all over the country will meet family and friends, many of them for the first time in a long time. But how do you greet others without breaking the pandemic protocol?

As Minister Frank McGee and his dog Grundy demonstrated in 1963, when this photo was captured by Star photographer Frank Tesky, touch – be it shaking hands or hugging – is what many of us salute. It is a difficult habit to break. But should the handshake become a thing of the past?

“Hand-to-hand contact is unlikely to be a significant risk [for COVID transmission]”Says Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto,” but getting close to someone long enough to shake their hand is a problem if the people involved don’t wear high-quality, well-fitting masks. “

Still, Furness admits that she would like to see the handshake end. “Objectively,” he says, “hands are disgusting. Touch may not matter as much for COVID, but it almost certainly does for other serious viruses. The other reason is bacterial contamination. Most bacteria are harmless or beneficial. Our bodies are covered in bacteria, inside and out. But some types, associated with the ‘two Fs’ (food and feces) are very harmful. Between kitchens and bathrooms, our hands can get dangerously dirty. “

Although people have learned over the past 18 months to wash their hands frequently, Furness says that is not enough. After conducting extensive research on the hand hygiene behavior of hospital patients, staff, and visitors, he found that “all three groups had the same rate of hand washing in bathrooms: 30%. That is low.

“I don’t have a phobia of germs,” he adds, “but I’m a true fan of hand sanitizer. If we shake hands less, surely we would need it less. And we would get sick less. “

Read more about Jessica Dee Humphreys “Now that Thanksgiving is within reach, is it safe to shake hands?”

Sunday 7:44 am: Tea Party activist Allen West, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Texas, said Saturday that he received injections of monoclonal antibodies after being diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia.

Antibodies are used to treat those in the early stages of a coronavirus infection.

“My chest X-rays show COVID pneumonia, it’s not serious. I’m probably going to be admitted to the hospital, ”West wrote. “There is a concern about my oxygen saturation levels, which are at 89 and should be at 95.”

He also said that his wife, Angela West, also tested positive and received monoclonal antibodies. According to his Twitter account, Allen West was not vaccinated against the virus, but his wife did.

Allen West said Thursday that he had attended a Mission Generation Annual Gala and Fundraiser “packed with people” in Seabrook, Texas. On Saturday he tweeted that he is “suspending in-person events until he receives a clear indication.”

Read the news about the coronavirus on Saturday.

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