The Elbow bump? No thank you!

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I believe we all are aware of the way of greeting by bumping the elbows with each other. This is not a new thing, but is reinvented each time there is a serious flu among us. So no surprise it is up and running again these days, wit the Covid 19 virus on the loose. This is of course a substitute to the traditional handshake. Reason being we think people have touched all kinds of nasty stuff with their hands, and transfer it to our own hands when touch the other person’s hand(s).

This would probably be very amusing for a lot of people, if it was not for the serious situation the world is in right now, due to the virus spreading fast, all over the globe. And those people I talk about are probably almost half the world’s population. Because when we think about it, there is a huge number of people who do NOT even touch each they when they greet each other.

The Elbow Bump.

Let’s have a look at the numbers. Buddhists do not touch each other when they greet, they probably count more than half a Billion people! Muslims which counts about 1.8 Billion people and who belong to the opposite sex do NOT touch each other. This is another 900 million people. People who believe in Hinduism count about 1.2 Billion people, which of most do NOT touch when they greet either. Then you have all the other countries as Japan (100+ million), Tibet, African tribes, more obscure (not well known) traditions in China probably also count millions upon millions. It is a long list.

Traditional Buddhist Wai.
Traditional Hindu greet.

So for all those people the missing handshake is a non-issue, which they do not miss. You don’t miss what you never had. But for us who normally use the handshake, it seems to become some sort of a traumatic experience among many of us. It was a big deal for a while with politicians and the media in general spending a lot of time explaining us why touching was a no no when we had this virus among us. Kind of reinventing the wheel here actually. Whenever we suspect dirty (or contaminated) hands, we will not touch them anyway, would we? Of course not. Still we need to learn this all over again.

Here are some interesting facts, people might know about, but do not think about too often. We have learned that the Covid 19 virus can survive on various surfaces. Different studies have already told us the virus can survive from a couple of hours to several days! Depending upon what kind of surface of course. But nevertheless it is alive and kicking for many hours as a minimum.

We also have learned that when we talk, small droplets will leave the mouth, with not too high velocity, but still the droplets will spread and stay in the air from prox 25 seconds and up to almost 8 minutes. And when we cough or sneeze the droplets shoot out at a huge speed. A cough can travel as fast as 50 mph and expel almost 3,000 droplets in just one go. Sneezes win though—they can travel up to 100 mph and create upwards of 100,000 droplets.  And the droplets can reach 23-27 feet, or 7 – 8 meters!

HIgh speed sneeze, which spreads.

This means that whenever you bump your elbow with another person, and if this person has bumped his/her elbow with another person, whom again has bumped it with someone who sneezed or coughed into the elbow, hours ago, you will GET IT on your own elbow. And when (or if) you also cough or sneeze in to your elbow, you will guaranteed put your face over the area which most likely already are cross-contaminated by another person. Think about that. So why do we even do this?

Myself, I nod and smile when I meet people. Sometimes I raise a hand at the same time, as some sort of improvised hello. And it doesn’t seem to offend people. I know I seem a bit paranoid now, but look at the numbers, and think about it. Stay healthy. 🙂

🙂 🙂

Rgds Sailor


  1. To add, I have noticed a lot of people also use their back of their hands/knuckles to wipe their nose or mouth.


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