Doctor recommends saying ‘no’ to hugs, handshakes as we reestablish sense of normalcy


Dr. James Kravec said it's a little awkward, but "we cannot lose sight of the fact that we still have COVID-19 in our community"

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As more of us leave our self-imposed quarantines of the last few months, health experts say trying to reestablish a sense of post-pandemic normalcy is important for our well-being.

“But we cannot lose sight of the fact that we still have COVID-19 in our community,” Dr. James Kravec said.

So what do you do when a friend or family member leans in for a hug or handshake?

“It’s a little awkward because everyone has different beliefs and everyone has different ways to handle that,” Kravec said.

Recently, we learned Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown had to self-quarantine after coming in contact with someone at a local restaurant who ended up testing positive for the coronavirus. The mayor’s COVID-19 test came back negative.

Kravec said it’s not an easy process.

“You need to go where you can maintain social distancing, and where it is supported by both restaurants and bars and the public.”

He recommends avoiding handshakes where possible and carrying hand sanitizer for times when it’s not. Simply wearing a mask could be a signal for others to give you some space.

“I do believe wearing a mask may show that…it is something that’s top-of-mind, but it really should be top-of-mind for everybody,” Kravec said.

In the end, he said people may need to make some tough choices deciding where and when to go somewhere and when you may need to leave.

“If you’re in a position where you can’t maintain social distance, you have to make a decision of what you should do.”

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