While it’s unlikely that coronavirus will trigger a mass extinction, it is a potentially dangerous illness that should be taken very seriously, especially when it comes to vulnerable people in our population like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. To prevent the contraction and spread of the virus, we’re advised to wash our hands regularly, avoid going out when ill, and to avoid unnecessary contact with others. That means no more handshakes. Should the Vulcan salute replace them?
- It is a classic gesture… The Vulcan salute was made famous by the sci-fi series Star Trek, in which a race known as the Vulcans always greet one another by spreading their fingers in a V-shape. Regardless of whether or not you watch the show or consider yourself a fan, you’re likely familiar with the salute and could do it pretty easily, which could help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Could this seriously replace handshakes? I mean, it’s been suggested! A piece published on CNet on March 5 called the Vulcan salute “a simple and sanitary gesture that’s just as useful as a handshake greeting, and 10 times more charming.” Can’t argue with that! Plus, CNN reported on March 10 that even Washington lawmakers had been advised to use the “live long and prosper sign” in lieu of handshakes when attending meetings or other official functions to avoid potentially infecting others with coronavirus or contracting it themselves.
- Of course, not everyone can actually do it. Hilariously, my own partner struggles to get the Vulcan salute just right—his fingers don’t want to separate in the correct way. In his native England, it’s likely that someone would think he was making a rude gesture rather than a greeting! That being said, I don’t think that’s a problem many people will have, so this could still be a good solution.
- It brings a bit of levity to a very serious situation. Of course, suggesting that the Vulcan salute can help fight coronavirus does sound a bit silly when you say it, but perhaps that’s the point. This virus is having some pretty serious effects on our economy and on people’s lives and livelihoods, so it’s a very intense, troubling time for many. Bringing a little humor to the situation, or at least a little smile to people’s faces, is just the antidote we need.
- Live long and prosper! Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands.