Amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on Americans, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in Tuesday with her two cents on how to reduce the risk of catching the highly contagious illness.
“One practice I’ve used in no-hand shake situations is to put my hand over my heart and smile/nod at whomever I am greeting. (Shout out to our local NY14 faith communities for teaching me this!)” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to a question from CBS News reporter Kathryn Watson about alternatives to shaking hands.
— a1wc (@A1wcc) March 3, 2020
The freshman congresswoman also asked her more than 6 million followers to share their “favorite handshake greeting” alternatives.
This is the best greeting. Let’s make this a thing.
— Glenton Richards? (@glentonrich) March 4, 2020
Others took aim at Ocasio-Cortez for what they perceived as a “narcissistic” gesture.
“Oh golly gee how enlightened I am now,” quipped one user.
Last week, Ocasio-Cortez addressed the coronavirus during an Instagram Live video.
In tweets following her Instagram Live appearance, the New York Democrat continued to dole out advice on how members of the public could mitigate the risk of catching the disease, which has killed nearly 3,000 people in 60 countries since it emerged in China in December, according to the World Health Organization.
I know buying a mask might feel productive to some, but if you don’t wash your hands WELL, still touch your face, etc it’s not doing much for you.
Right now the people who need masks are healthcare providers and patients w/ health needs. Consult your Dr.
& Wash your hands! ?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 1, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez has been sharply critical of the Trump administration’s response to the public health emergency set off by the coronavirus.
The progressive Democrat slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to make Vice President Mike Pence the head of his coronavirus task force.
“Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic. This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Feb. 26.
As governor, Pence’s science denial contributed to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in Indiana’s history.
He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 27, 2020
“As governor, Pence’s science denial contributed to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in Indiana’s history. He is not a medical doctor. He is not a health expert. He is not qualified nor positioned in any way to protect our public health,” she said in a subsequent tweet.
Six people in America have died from coronavirus
Six people in the Seattle area have died of illness caused by the new coronavirus, health officials said on Monday, as authorities across the United States scrambled to prepare for more infections with an emphasis on increasing testing capacity.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for the Seattle and King County Public Health agency, announced the rise in fatalities from the previous two in Washington state.
Eight of the 14 total cases in his jurisdiction are linked to an outbreak at a nursing facility in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, including four deaths, Duchin said at a news conference.
At least four of the six people who died were either elderly or had underlying health conditions or both, Duchin said.
Nevertheless, Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at a White House briefing, said the risk to Americans from coronavirus remained low.
Earlier in the day, two senior officials said the Trump administration was weighing whether to have the president issue an emergency declaration to help cover state and local costs of responding to the coronavirus.
Further tightening of travel restrictions on countries hard-hit by the virus also were under consideration, President Donald Trump said during a meeting with pharmaceutical company executives.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said he expects that by the end of this week close to 1 million coronavirus tests will be completed.
The total number of cases detected by the public health system in Washington state now stands at 18, the most of any state. In addition to the 14 King County cases, four residents of nearby Snohomish County have tested positive for the virus, officials said.
“We expect the number of cases will continue to increase in the coming days and weeks, and we are taking this situation extremely seriously,” Duchin said.
However, he also said the vast majority of diagnosed patients have mild to moderate symptoms and do not need hospitalization.
In addition to confirmed cases, King County has about 29 potential cases awaiting test results, so the number there could soon rise, officials said. Tests were being conducted on about 200 samples a day, and health officials expect to boost the number of tests to at least 1,000 a day soon.
Duchin said his county was not recommending school closures or cancellation of any events.
As of Sunday, the number of confirmed and presumptive cases in the United States had risen to 91, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Many of those were among people repatriated to the United States, either from the Diamond Princess cruise ship previously quarantined in Japan or from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global outbreak originated.
The number of presumed cases reported by states but not yet officially confirmed by the CDC stood at 27, up from seven previously. The CDC will confirm the tests sent by states with their own diagnostics. So far, 10 states, including California and New York, have confirmed or presumed cases.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)