President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials appeared to disregard recommended health guidelines on preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses Friday by shaking hands, touching their faces and sharing a microphone at a press conference declaring the coronavirus a national emergency.
During a live briefing in the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump could be seen shaking hands with multiple executives from major companies, including Target CEO Brian Cornell, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Walgreens President Richard Ashworth.
U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and executives also shared a podium where they repeatedly touched the microphone. U.S. officials could also be seen touching their faces. Reporters at the press conference also shared the same microphone.
The briefing raised eyebrows for those watching on social media as health officials urge the public to take strong measures to try to stem the outbreak, which has spread across 46 U.S. states.
COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Whenever someone with the virus coughs or exhales, they release droplets of infected fluid that can land on nearby surfaces like desks, tables or telephones and can infect another person who comes in contact with it.
Health officials recommend avoiding physical contact while greeting, including shaking hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth since these are areas where the virus can enter your body. They also recommend maintaining at least three feet of distance from yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.